THE RECURRING DREAM
for Luigi, in memoriam.
(Listen t Lewis Turco read his poem, "The Recurring Dream."
I seek my father — that minister
of the deep — among the furniture
of my childhood. I step out of waking
into this room and know
that time has passed. The windows are webbed
and moonstreaked. A lamp with a glass shade,
green and saffron, burns
on a brass stem. The bookcases hold sermons
and silence. My aquaria
stand among tumbled
tomes and testaments. The dust rises
into the amber darkness.
I disturb a desert of hours,
search for the fish that glide
in musty waters — blue scales
glint under my glance,
their eyes are corals budding
among rusty blades of sea grass
and swordplants. I remove the glass lids
and dip my hand into the water —
it is what I have feared:
shadow of a shadow, dim air
flowing from corner to corner.
The fish rise along the curtains
to swim about me in the air,
their black fins wavering.
I dig in the gravel stranded
among the shelving,
the decaying books. I dig,
and here, in the root
of the largest plant, blooming
from a socket of bone, I find my father
where he has scuttled,
at last to be brought back, smiling.