Oliver de la Paz

Hour of Dawn

Initially, we held ourselves in contempt
because the light covered us with little tongues,
made us conscious of the miniscule.
We wore the evening¹s chime around our waists
so when we turned, we were aware of ourselves
and the music the day struck in time
from our bodies. From our bodies we urged
a story, one that light would not disrupt
if we passed into the shade when it called us.
We could only think of the scent of orange blossoms
from the low bushes and the trembling
ash that was the color of the moment.
We would ask for a brief respite from ourselves
and hearing nothing, would grind our teeth. In the low
dream of the dawn, the moon would disappear
into a fingernail. It¹s as though a sea washed over
a miniscule shell holding the narrative of ourselves.
The hour of dawn held us like a mouth
for kissing. We could hear ourselves
buffeted by our small turnings, our body¹s risings
and breathings.
Hour of dawn, hold us still
and we will be unsparing. We will mute
our breaths and read into the color that is a message,
a hidden kiss we find alone before a mirror.

Oliver de la Paz
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Oliver de la Paz
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse