Am I dead, I asked her?
In a box, I did molder,
rotting, shapeless, my nightly sleep.
Dead, but dreaming, of what waited
beyond my comfortable dirt, beyond
my opulent world of worms and disquiet.
But when they asked, wake me none I said
until the day my box is broken.
And then the first of dreams
drained through the holes where nails once lay.
I listened. I woke. And pushed away the cold dirt.
My insides, new, pumped with raw life,
and I recalled the days I’d never lived.
The moon, she burned my face. My eyes, she scalded
with such light my box never allowed.
Still hushed, she bade me walk beside her,
and her smile drank away my grave-dust.
For hours, we tread lightly
On the shadowed fields, unseen.
Of the world below, of worms, of coffins, she asked,
and for the moon, we floated high,
in the wind, the light, and nothing.
But to the silver jewel, we never did come,
for at last, she saw the dusk within,
and feared, with me, the sun
would not rise.
Quickly, we climbed back down.
The dirt waited, starved of me.
Where now will you go? the dream asked me in lament.
To sleep, I said. My home, it is,
in my tomb, dead but dreaming always.
Down, she lay me, shining no more, but gloaming
as I slid into bed, shivering.
Again, I’ll see you? she asked.
Long from now.
J Edward Neill