The first time you heard an ambulance, you
stopped dreaming – stopped dreaming of such romantic
inversions – like the hum of a whale,
the cactus flower
you turned into. A mother carries
the last basket of apples
from the garden and says they belong to you
(like ribbon and twine)
like music you never listened to.
You go wandering down someone else’s path
and start believing in God again.
As though He’s more than a shadow,
as though He has more to offer you
than a piano. Materialized –
like your father, He’s learned to sleep
on a bed of cactus leaves,
turning the wool from the barn
into soft blue blankets
that reminded you of water.
You turned away from the shape of a woman.
You learned when you were young
that you had a fear for scarecrows,
their faces grimy with rain water
all too like the reflection of something drowned
in the river. Like a fish. A lake of rafts.
You imagine a mother
leading her children down
into the current
swept away like
small white flags.