Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me
We lie in that other darkness, ourselves.
There is less than the width of my left hand
between us. I can barely breathe,
but the light breathes easily,
wind on water across our two still bodies.
I cannot even turn to see him.
I would not touch him. Nor would I lift
my arm into the crescent of a moon.
(There is no star in the sky of this room,
only the light fashioning fish along the walls.
They swim and swallow one another.)
I dream we lie under water,
caught in our own sure drift.
A window, white shadow, trembles over us.
Light breaks into a moving circle.
He would not speak and I would not touch him.
It is an ocean under here.
Whatever two we were, we become
one falling body, one breath. Night lies down
at the sleeping center -- no fish, no shadow,
no single, turning light. And I would not touch him
who lies deeper in the drifting dark than life.
-- Stanley Plumly