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The Lonesome Dream

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In the America of the dream
the first rise of the moon
swings free of the ocean,
and she reigns in her shining flesh
over a good, great valley
of plumped, untrampled grasses
and beasts with solemn eyes,
of lovers infallibly pitched
in their ascendant phase.
 
In this America, death
is virginal also, roaming
the good, great valley
in his huge boots, his shadow
steady and lean, his pistol
silver, his greeting clear
and courteous as a stranger’s
who looks for another, a mind
to share his peaceable evenings.
 
Dreaming, we are another
race than the one which wakes
in the cold sweat of fear,
fires wild shots at death.,
builds slippery towers of glass
to head him off, waylays him
with alcohol traps, rides him down
in canyons of sex, and hides
in teetering ghost towns.
 
Dreaming, we are the mad
who swear by the blood of trees
and speak with the tongues of streams
through props of steel and sawdust,
a colony of souls
ravaged by visions, bound
to some wild, secret cove
not yet possessed, a place
still innocent of us.

Lisel Mueller, “The Lonesome Dream” from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.
Source: Alive Together: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 1996)
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The Lonesome Dream

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