I ask myself how she names what she hears
Whether she credits what she sees as real
Whether the voices are ordained
Whether it will stop
Whether silence will detain her
This is where the damage is done she says
As though there is a place where the spirit thins
And the body is purely body in decline
A place where you fall
A place where essential fragments of the self are deeply lost
A place or space where you derange
Where you know and do not know the truth
I never thought it would be this difficult to die
She both fears what she hears and hears what she fears
Some frailties are inexhaustible
I touch her skin I trace her spine I comb her hair I clip her nails
More than memory more than speech the body embeds each touch
A comb to contain a fundament of love

Perhaps all you have is the knowledge that you are touchable to the end
That touch remains the first and last resource for growth
She knows that when the night comes she will wake and hear jazz
And big band music and regional ballads swarm in the room
She is a hive for random things to intrude and drone and dement her
She is a hive gone haywire
Complete dreams become a total reality
Her distant brother comes to town
Retrieves a letter that must not be opened
Throws it into a room with two beds which they later occupy
But in the morning there are no clothes no sign of occupancy no letter no brother
She knows the tension of sanity is only barely sustained
Realities supplant one another
Time becomes as sinuous as a collocation in memory
Damage is done daybreak by daybreak
Above the laurel and firs her eyes are drawn over the suburbs to the eastward sea
A stretch of sand
The solace of memory
Grace of the body in motion
And the defended life evading the eternal


(From Realities)