For years he secreted shards of words,
a magpie of language. Words creased
the corners of his mouth like letters
folded and unfolded too many times.
Now, his own face is a stranger’s.
He looks at himself in the mirror and says:
“He bothers me; I want him out of my room.”
It’s as baffling as the Hitchcock story
where the murder weapon, a frozen
leg of lamb, is cooking in the oven
by the time the detective arrives.
As if the icicle driven through the brain
has melted: no weapon, no fingerprints.
Who he was has vanished into the snow.
It’s been a long time since
the unglazed light of day touched him.
All our names are lost
in his artificial wakefulness.
I wait in a nerveless way for sleep
or something better to take him farther
than we can follow, where shadows
of birds sweep over his childhood body:
body of light, body of time,
full of joy in the humming field.
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