Weldon Kees

(1914 - 1955 / Nebraska / United States)

Girl At Midnight

Then walk the floor, or twist upon your bed
While bullets, cold and blind, rush backward from the target’s eye,
And say, “I will not dream that dream again. I will not dream
Of long-spent whispers vanishing down corridors
That turn through buildings I have never known;
The snap of rubber gloves; the tall child, blind,
Who calls my name; the stained sheets
Of another girl. And then a low bell,
Sounding through shadows in the cold,
Disturbs the screen that is my mind in sleep.

“—Your face is never clear. You always stand
In charcoal doorways in the dark. Part of your face
is gone. You say, ‘Just to be through with this damned world.
Contagious fogs blow in. Christ, we could die
The way deer sometimes do, their antlers locked,
Rotting in snow.’
“And I can never speak.
But have I ever told the truth to you?
I did not ask for this; a new disease threads in.
I want your lips upon my lips, your mouth
Upon my breasts, again, again, again, again;
I want the morning filled with sun.

“But I must dream once more of cities burned away,
Corrupted wood, and silence on the piers.
Love is a sickroom with the roof half gone
Where nights go down in a continual rain.

Heart, heart. I do not live. The lie of peace
Echoes to no end; the clocks are dead.
What we have had we will not have again.”

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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