IT IS STILL BEAUTIFUL TO HEAR THE HEART BEAT*
It’s 3 AM. The crows on one leg or none are already starving for infant nests. A few leaves hang on
still. A prayer of godwits enters the dream from the upper left quadrant. No, I tell the dream-maker,
no, make it a lamentation of swans. The times demand it. Instead, I’m given an affliction of starlings
tearing the leaves that remain as they fly, and the dream is ruined. What’s real is in bed with me,
mounts me, slides in like a husband entering with the unquestioned privilege of his sexual
entitlement. Drowsy, I open my thighs to him, to it, to the day. To my habit of saying “Accept it, I’ll
die tonight,” each night when I pull the quilts for sleep, so that I can practice belief. The next day is
new. Always. Fair or fetid, bring with me only what I dare to remember. Opening new eyes, there is
the baby in her crib, her shape nothing I wanted. Waking is waking. What’s real is the child with her
badly sculpted brain, her damaged possibility of dream. What’s real is our day in a diseased year and
the baby has come out wrong. Blame it on the chemicals. Blame it on the sting of the genus Aedes
aegypti, white stripes on her legs, a marking in the form of a lyre on her upper thorax. Say that she
comes at dawn. What’s real is I was another one of the harmed, the infant, more so, but less harmed
than the worse harmed than we.
Awake, it is still beautiful to hear the heart beat, I repeat. A prayer of godwits hovers at my door.
I am so deeply awake.
* from After A Death, —Tomas Tranströmer