from Prelude to Air From Water

A man and a woman lie in adjoined twin beds in a dirty motel room. The door next to the twin beds leads to a bathroom whose toilet doesn’t flush and whose shower spits only drizzles of cold water. The door across from the twin beds leads to a patio upon which shallow waves lash monotonously under blackened skies. On the door, a sign hangs cockeyed from a rusty tack. Printed in bold type letters, the sign reads, “Checkout: 11:00 am.” The man and the woman are the only two people in the room.

Someone dreams. It is the woman. In the dream, six men peer through the window across from the twin beds. In the dream, the men whisper to one another in a foreign tongue. Hence, when the woman rouses the man lying next to her with a tap on the shoulder and says, in English, “See? There are men watching through the window. Would you do please close the curtain?” the man rises from the twin bed and walks toward the window.

At the moment that the man closes the curtain, the door across from the twin beds opens widely. The man says, “See? The men are entering our hotel room. Would you please stop making them mad?” as he climbs back into the bed.

Six men enter the room through the open doorway. The sign still reads, “Checkout: 11:00 AM,” but now, there are eight people in the room: The man and the woman and six strange men.

Between the man and woman there is a small rift. To each, the other seems a fault line away. Hence, when the woman proclaims, “See? That last one was a ghost,” the man and the woman look at one another and pronounce the other awake.

You are the Wake of my Wisdom.

You are the Wake of my Wishes.

You are the Wake of my Weeks.

The Wake of my Words.

The Wake of my Wild Western Open Field.