your hair is long when I dream of you
and your hands and fingers are long, too.
you stoop low and turn to hear my voice,
cup my chin in your piano hands,
and with the center of your attention, muffle all outward noise
(I think you wear a cape).
—my hands are narrow and come to a point
you tuck them like bread in your pockets
and we walk to the train—
we are lovers, so of course we walk in the rain,
and smile while the drops form a frame
for our faces.
I cannot remember where you take us—
to the dining car or the caboose.
we wave from the windows,
smiling at strangers,
and wonder that no one out there
knows our names.
the landscape’s the same as when we left.
I ask you, ‘have we gone in circles?’
you say, ‘the ride’s enough’
and pinch my nose and glance below
at the murky water
(it is a dream, remember).
for now we stand beside a pond
you still hold my hand
(your skin is so thin)
and I take each of your fingers in my mouth
to warm them with my breath.
the pond is rimmed in ice
but below I see the catfish swim.
‘let’s go in.’
you hold my arm:
‘you’ll catch your death’ you say
with worry in the corner of your eye.
I laugh at you,
a hearty laugh,
and plunge beneath the crust.
the ring around my finger rusts
reminding me that you’re somewhere behind.
I drop to the bottom
and must push back to the surface
with all the narrow force of my narrow feet.
the pond is now a sea,
and you have left me.
(I weep myself awake, and find your picture between the pages of my books)
(your hair is short, your hands are firm, and you’re alone beneath a harsh light)
(I crawl back into bed and warm my frostbitten toes
with all the blankets and pillows
that I can reach)