From the Middle
We were asleep when a voice made the water-weeds
wave away from our shoulders, our eyes; then there was
only empty water, and finally the common air
of wakefulness where we saw women embroider
while looking up at us, each of them pale with age.
We exhaled onto every sour thread,
not out of love for the sewn lily, the sewn rose,
but in the manner of winter passing from the mouth
while the mouth is watched, a mouth more steady than
false smoke. Even so, we had nothing to say;
we believed the moment was sweet but wouldn't hold,
that we would not be gripped
by an awareness of the ground, belief in heaven,
recollection of a scent. Their hands ascended toward
the ceiling, turned, descended toward the floor.
There was the slightest song. They offered to weep
for us; they exhaled the scent of funeral carnations.