Oliver de la Paz

Aubade with the Moon, Some Bones, and a Word

Half asleep you said in your dream you were a tree
and I disbelieved. I cannot forgive myself for this.
Though I can forgive the moon and the fish
that tumble forth in their dreams of the moon.
There were light blue eggs in your branches that glinted
with specks of glass and no birds inside them, only bones.
You took string and tied knots around the bones
to make chimes that would clang out songs
as though they were rain itself.
You did not want to lose the bones, light and frail.
You could lose them to the moon with its fishes. You said
the fish were there for temperance, though they confuse me.
They are merely mouths. Perhaps they are my mouth
taking you away from the dream as I hear your vowels
and think to wake you.
The moon was a silver button, you said, and that a thread
was hanging from it, long and severe, unraveling
into the stars. You said “unravel” again and again
as though you were learning a new language. “Unravel.”
Slowly the night unravels like a ribbon pulled
off a bed-sheet. Scars are made like this–scuff marks
across wood floors. . . the moon and its string
becomes a swirl in the sky, generous rivers
full of fish unraveling into the ocean,
Your wind chime made of bones spools into galaxies of sound. . .
Little sleeper, little sleeve, I¹ve become cynical as many people
who¹ve become too conscious of disgrace. If you insist
that you are wood then let trees become more holy than God.
If you insist the bones are musical, then let their songs trick
the morning with its slow waltzes.
Ignore the fishes, for they have no real love of the moon.
Ignore my disbelief, for it insists too much on keeping time
and time wraps itself in your mouth like a lazy new word.
Gingerly, gingerly, there are cracks in our windows
and it¹s torture to end your dream as the sun dresses
you in vermillion. Stay asleep. You are a tree
filled with gems in the moonlight. Stay asleep
my lovely auburn sleeper . . . my beautiful burgundy wood.

Oliver de la Paz
Aubade with the Moon, Some Bones, and a Word was first published in North American Review, Vol 289, No. 3-4, May/August 2004.
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Oliver de la Paz
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse