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Tony Mancus

Not nights ending anymore early in the morning and

look at how you sleep there
fast in your dreams. The color of morning
unavailable for another hour or two—outstretched
our four feet mark off their own countries—a borderless

pattern of wetland and prairie. The sweetest sleep
of stonelike bodies arrives quiet—to never touch
one side against another— it divides the bed
into chambers like a heart. And with our hands

we chip-chop out a model of a boat. One place
to carry each body from, the thing weaved
of sound netting, weaved of our sleepy-motion,
but big enough to carry us both away, at least

from the wetlands of my sleep. Atop a cattail,
one black bird stands and then opens up, like a book
on fire, its wings. The sound of talking rises
slowly from where the sheets meet the wall.

The window rests on
its sill, where the outside
gets let in.

The outside filled with wings—dangerous and flying.
In the prairie, the sounds of your dream replay, like a tape
that loops itself around the winding mechanism. The day
is not yet ready for its long call and you have dispersed

into the grey light, the netting come
to grab you fast away. It’s like this
to wade along a river made of hands,
to model the furious impact of light

on one particular place—how it hits and hits
whatever’s there until the thing fades.
There’s a dull swaying and ache to be borne.

The surface of the sill blanketed by dust,
the blankets crumpled and needing a wash. I know
this color is not meant to be shared—fire
from the shoulders of the sun just breaks

onto the eastern horizon and licks all the buildings
with its faint blue tongue. I sleep in my own country,
that sings a different language and signs its shipments in
one at a time, in outrageous cursive from wetlands to prairie.

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