March 29, 2019

Before the Provinces of Sleep by Laura Stringfellow

He stood at the foot of the bed, imagining
the flight of birds through his mind,
the water in some distant city,
the slapping of sound in his head.

He dreamed warm winds, soft
with the arms of undoing,
shades of hawthorn and ash.

When he lay down, he went
into the world. He found himself
in the vestiges of wars,
of people speaking a foreign language
in sadnesses he couldn’t decipher.

To actually sleep would be
to find oneself lying down.
To find oneself lying down
would be to find oneself under the command
of everything that has risen.

He wanted only to be a two-footed
creature on the earth who dreams
of the world in color, who sees
at once himself sleeping,
but who chooses to go out and live.

Laura Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, has an intimate, lifelong relationship with the Southern Gothic, and often explores themes of death, transformation, and woundedness in her poetry. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and hails from the muggy strangelands of the Southern U.S.

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