IN THE WAKE OF DREAMS

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15. PREPARATIONS FOR RE-ENTRY



What is this gentle unfolding
This slow rising this soaring
Immaculate on the wing—
In the everness of the here and now
The world upside down—
Core tested—holding—spinning gently
I—muted blinded—
Outside of my body.

To steady this otherness
I trace on the left palm
A spiral coiling inward
And on the right palm
A spiral uncoiling outward.

Palms pressed together
Emblazon the central points
And in this bubble
Immaterial transparent luminous
I—an electric inclusion—
Remind myself
Of myself.

In this memory
A cosmic convulsion rips
The bubble open and
Hurls me back
Into the future.


*

Before me lie six
Golden ponds of silence:
In the first pond I wade a day and
It seems like a hundred years had passed.
In the second I sit seven days
And it feels like ten years of silence.
In the third I soak in silence
For a hundred days and it seems
That only a day had slipped by.
On that day
Meridians crossed distances
The world tilted
Light-years inverted and
A day in the last pool of silence
Stilled me for a hundred years.

Are you there?
Can you here me?

Light unbearable
Teeming teasing stinging.
Light-rays
Leaning in whichever direction
Slanting in chaotic disarray
Erasing the future.

Plucking light-beams and
Tucking them under my arms
I came to the edge of Being—
No stained glass windows
To tell a story
No glass—I
Eye-to-eye with the void
Breathing in my face.


*

New to the ways of light
New to the ways of the void
I sat down feet dangling
Over an abyss.
Splitting the light-beams
Under my arms into rays
And rays into strands
I started knotting a net
Star-beams moonbeams sunbeams
Replenishing themselves
Without breaking.

If my fingers stopped moving,
In the habit of light
The rays whipped out straight
Unraveling my handy work.
I made little progress until
In the void below
In mirror reflection I glimpsed
Luminous patterns—islands
Of symmetrical inversions forming
Their own nebulous constellations.

Now the eyes refused to focus.
To go on I had to gaze at
Invisible lines running ahead
Of my fingers
Which outraged the fingers—
Nimble pulling splitting and knotting
Was not enough—
The eye had to caress every strand of light
The heart had to sigh loud with delight
The fingers had to take pride in
Every sweet curve
For only then—oh please—
Only then would
The mirror inversions hold.

Startled when a flash
Like a gunshot in the dark
Produced a cryptic knot that
Flipped over large segments into
Symmetrical juxtapositions—
Constellations gathering orbiting—
I mastered the knot in a hurry and now
With gunshot fanfare
The netting went wild—
A luminous net spilling
Into the void below.


*

Vibrations running up the strands
Informed the fingers that
The netting reached ground.

Climbing down into the void
I descended to a shadowy place
Knee-deep in white powder.
On the right of where I stood
An immense oven blazing.
On the left
Utensils for baking bread—
Their sheen bespeaking
Centuries of handling.

The measure for flour was
A horn of plenty big enough
To crawl into.
The silver-edged rosewood scoop
Small enough to handle.
The measure for salt
A chalice of embossed silver
To hold four generations of tears.
The silver-lined pail a bottomless well
The tub to hold a harvest of grapes
The yeast in a cauldron
Bubbling already.

Was making bread my lot?
Did I go the distance for this?
Or was giving back to the world
What I reaped on the run in the wind
My destiny?
Was it that simple?


I filled the horn of plenty with flour
Scooped off the floor and
It tipped toward the tub by itself.
And so did the measure of salt
The cauldron of yeast
And pails of spring water—all
Replenishing themselves instantly.

I climbed into the tub and
Kneading with elbows knees and heels—
Never touching the stuff with my hands—
Made dough enough to make loaves
To last a hundred years.
Embers blinking in the oven
I swept out the ashes
Shoved in the loaves
Rolled a stone over the opening
Sat down against a wall
And dozed off.

Awakened by whiffs of fresh-baked bread
Suddenly hungry for the simple
Pleasures back home
I unloaded the oven in a hurry
Carried the loaves outside on the run
And stacked them in rows
Three loaves high.


*

I was returning back for more when
Stillness whipped into rushes of wind—
A cloud of shimmer descending—
The white bird
Wings spanning a field
Bill hooked to quell hunger
Eyes fixed on the bread,
Landing—
After gorging itself
The white bird took off.
Oh how glad was I that
There was bread enough
For years to come!


*

Eager to get home
I stacked three loaves in my arms and
Eyes fixed on the abysmal rim above
Started walking.

In a birch forest
I bumped into a table where
People sitting on benches were
Exchanging news of the day.
They wanted to know where
I had come from what I had seen
Where bread was to be had.
Invited to join them
I put the loaves on the table
And sat down.

Inhaling breath as if for the first time
Each spoke in the singsong of
His or her native tongue
Yet was understood by all.
I spoke Lithuanian and I too
Was understood by all.
In jubilation
A white linen cloth was spread and
Wine was brought and when
We broke the bread I had baked
Goblets were filled
Each time around
The jug more ornate
The wine older and stronger
The hand pouring the wine
More generous.

Does anyone know the way home?
I asked and a fellow said yes
He'd just come from there—
The entrance was over the hillock
Under a stone in the shade
Of a hazelnut bush.
I stood up to leave when
The oldest at the table said
"You must not return empty-handed.
Take with you the two
Unbroken loaves."

I found the hazel bush
And under the bush a flat stone
And under the stone
A reflecting pool.
A loaf under each arm
I jumped in—

*

I woke up on the bed
In the room where I had
Lain down to rest—
Two loaves at my side
The party downstairs
Going strong.

Ready to break bread
With one and all
I got up and
Joined my friends.







THE END


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