By Amal El-Mohtar
11 February 2013
I don't know where I am.
I close my eyes and there's a forest,
warm and dark, where I can reach out
and touch you. I could get lost
you say, from miles away,
in bed with you
and I am already there, pine needles on the ground,
your body as near as the trees.
Your words make evening of my sheets,
a dim sky falling over woods
seeded in syllables, tangling
breath and branches together
behind the eyes I've shut to find you.
One can believe anything in the dark:
that I could turn and know
the heat of your back,
the curve of your shoulder,
the soft smell of your neck.
There is strange comfort in being lost,
in making a home of uncertainty—
a pillow of moss, a bed of leaves,
a presence out of absence.
one can believe anything in the dark.
I could tell myself stories. I could say
there once was a girl who made woods of words
and lay down in them to dream
lost her breadcrumbs to the birds
and her maps to a running stream
but in the dark, it's hard to know
middles from beginnings
or anything else.
It could be
that you, whose voice is an open door
that takes me no place twice—it could be
that you know exactly where you are,
keep a compass in your breastbone
and won't tell me where it points—
that when you say I could
you don't mean you will.
anything is possible in the dark,
and everything is possible
it's warm beneath this blanket sky,
and she has been so cold,
his voice is still as close as sleep,
and still as sweet to hold.
So let him lead her into rest
be it here, or near, or far—
she's always loved the evening best,
the twilight, and the stars.