Today's poem is by Katherine Soniat

Fantasia with Love and Death in the Wings

If these dead were on the long flight
down to the grave,
I would stand and the foot of the stairs
with a silver tray of poppies,
saying, eat, this will lighten the body.

But these specters are making their way up,
out of the night-bin.
They've come for thick bread and butter,
for the dawns insomniacs dwell on.

See how they crowd and are remote,
restless for this world—
lamps and oil,
clocks that chime dream into logic.

No longer loquacious, they murmur,
and I stand fast, an usher for their longings.
They are giddy with access and need
to my right is the sickroom,
where someone keeps on dying.
To the left hangs the crotch-smell,
the room of a man and woman
forever young and coupling.

They have it in them they'll be leaving.
On the landing my guests hesitate.
For now, we take each other in,

Copyright © 2001 Katherine Soniat All rights reserved
from Alluvial
Bucknell University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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