Tim Seibles

Late Shift

maybe dreams
from which I cannot return: the velvet
touch of Her lips, first light
fingering a cup: sacred dislocations
of mind—the way the right sound
becomes visible.
Where I am now
it’s later—the clocks have been amended
to include all the strange hours—
and Someone cracked my name
as if all my life I’d been locked inside.
I know the shelves stay stocked, big cars lead the chase,
there’s always more and more to eat.
But was that ever my country?
I was. born there.
And I’d go back if I could
just to feel less lonely—
but what I took
to be a certain distance
was actually a late shift in myself,
a different kind of listening:
the voice, a thread of honey—
the jar tipped just enough to one side:
We belong to no nation.
One day we will hold the earth
again as if She were a love
nearly lost, Her rainy hair tangled in our hands.
The soul is what we are.
Every life a word the wind turns to say.
And though trouble grows back like a beard,
an unchained blood governs my tongue.
I have seen the door that is not there
still open

Tim Seibles
“Late Shift” is from Buffalo Head Solos (Cleveland State University, 2004).