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"Japanese Print"

Japanese Print


I dreamed last night we had many children.
We were in the house and wanted to make love.
You told me, "We must be quiet."
You tied a silk scarf across my mouth, loosely,
Kotted it behind my neck.
It was a white scarf with birds and Japanese trees,
Your mother's scarf, passed down to me,
Her memory of unsinging birds and other still, exotic things.

There was no struggle or delirious song in our lovemaking,
No fluttering, no pillows buffeted.
But you undid the scarf to kiss me
And you touched my naked back and said it was
As soundless as silk.
And the headboard, wood and solid,
Didn't make a sound either, but simply marked the place
Where something happened
For which there are no words.

Somewhere, your mother lay dying.
Soon there would be a monument of stone for her love
Not said aloud.
You would untie the scarf.
She would become a tree in the graveyard.

In the dream, the children never knew
Or never let on they knew
Of our secret love
Or of the warmth held completely intact at the center of that silent bed,
But they later climbed the tree at the neighbor's fence without
Shouting; listening to the wind
And the leaves.