i woke up at two a.m.
the tv was playing Apocalypse Now
the light flickered on the sleeping lady
her breathing a dreamy surf
over the narrative drone
the gunboat moving upriver
in a wake of sitar music

i looked for You again in her body heat
but You were outside the window
rain beaded the glass
the bushes dripped
i listened like a dog
alert to some distant howl
put on my coat
slipped outdoors

the puddles seethed and the rain
trickled from roofs and wires
opening everywhere the endless depth
            of the night
the blue streetlamp glinted on the tattered
            snow
a thousand stars had come down and
            camped secretly in the back yard
i walked after You their master
my feet held to the vague pavement line
lest i be swallowed
a white blur hovered overhead
the line disappeared
stones clashing kept me on the path
the rain stirred the deep woods

below me two holes in the solid earth
opened incredibly right out to the sky
was this how You let in the stars?
they were puddles
the water soaked my boots
drops leaped from the trees and the sloshing
            mirrors laughed like jelly
my tracks leaked outer space
dim streetlight from the other side
illumined the frozen pond
streaked and speckled like a lavender Mars
the air smelled of mossy logs
soft gurgling quickened the darkness
a black funnel of water
ate far into the center of the ice
the mist lay low on the cold ground
the streetlamp floated like a violet moon
the trees drifted like masts
the mountain rode above the white wraiths
            like an iceberg

something watched me from the woods
i listened until the rain soaked through
            my hair
You swished over the dead leaves
You followed me past the liquid mirrors
You sighed in the mud where i walked
but would not stand still

a solitary car
i ducked for the deep shadows
peering at the headlights as they swept past
heart pounding in my ears
i licked the rain off the backs of my hands
when i returned to the road You walked
            beside me
and i wanted never to live in a house again

the village lights down in the hollow
            with their dogs and chimneys
disembodied in the fog
called me home to the dark room

i sat listening to the lady sleep
dawn came blustery and raw
it was a normal rainy day
i said nothing about You to anyone