Breath, sweet 

“Variation on the Word Sleep”By Margaret Atwood

 I would like to watch you sleeping, 
which may not happen.

I would like to watch you, 

sleeping. I would like to sleep 

with you, to enter 

your sleep as its smooth dark wave 

slides over my head
and walk with you through that lucent 

wavering forest of bluegreen leaves 

with its watery sun & three moons 

towards the cave where you must descend, 

towards your worst fear
I would like to give you the silver 

branch, the small white flower, the one 

word that will protect you 

from the grief at the center 

of your dream, from the grief 

at the center. I would like to follow 

you up the long stairway 

again & become

the boat that would row you back

carefully, a flame

in two cupped hands 

to where your body lies 

beside me, and you enter 

it as easily as breathing in
I would like to be the air

that inhabits you for a moment

only. I would like to be that unnoticed

& that necessary.

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