She has forgotten the room, forgotten the firelight, forgotten
the cool ironed sham beneath her cheek,
forgotten the shadows under the bed, forgotten the wind at the window,
the stars burning, an owl snatching a wayward rabbit,
the rabbit’s shriek; she has forgotten her mother, her father,
her cottage under moonlight; forgotten the rain,
forgotten the brook that wept like a river.
Only now only now only now.
For dreaming and the act of love are mirrors;
and tonight the girl knows also; but where is her breath,
where is the tender shivering flesh below the ridge of her shoulder?
Where? For she has lost herself, she has lost the white bear,
who is not a bear, but what has he become?
What has she become? Both have cast off their skins, both
grown larger than giants, and each new and solitary cell
undergoes its ruthless joy. Who is the bear, who the woman;
who the air, who the fire; who the knife,
who the wound? How terrible they are;
how near to hate and dreaming is love,
its fury of nail and claw; and how time
narrows and slows, till now there is only
yes and no and yes.
[forthcoming in Same Old Story (CavanKerry Press, 2013 or thereabouts)]