Asleep in Ireland

My forehead touches folds and stone. It is mud
and gold. It is sky
silvered. Its curls fondle a puddle where fingers abandon
the wind to huddle as babies
at my breast.

I am asleep in a waving field in Sligo, and the earth
mothers me.

Oh, how I love my sleep in Ireland.

All that has transpired during the previous nine years
is now a dream. When I awake
to myself unblemished,
dressed again in juniper:
I did not invite Deborah to Dublin.
We were not married in the Shelbourne Hotel.
We did not abandon the family on Wicklow,
and the family in Wicklow did not abandon me.
I did not retreat with her to Germany.
There was no divorce one year later.
I did not soil my story, and my story did not soil me.
I did not lose my adventure.

I first knelt in this dimple of nettles and puddles upon
the forty-second day of my great pilgrimage.
The sun was my shield, the fields unlettered and not dying.
I lay my bag next to this rock and lay my head
upon my bag.

I slept to the rhythm of cows
and clouds, the moon, invisible in cerulean, wandering
and blessing the shore of me
asleep upon this belly, burning with the yolks of furze
flowering into the big, dreamy, beating silence
of the embryo.

Hobo licks my palm. We walk hills wet, wax
green and valleys wetter and greener.
The sheep farmers do not concern him.
They have not yet poisoned him. He is turning away and
turning back, orange and lime
in the sun.

He is an Alsatian like me and a stray. When he died, I
buttoned him into my flannel shirt and buried him beneath
a plum tree.

We sleep now in Ireland, separated only by a vast mirror
of earth. I bite
into fruit nourished by his body. Hobo knows me
as I enter the mulberry trees.
My mother greets us from an iron chair. She rises. She, too,
is smiling victoriously. She is lantern lit, beautiful again.
I knew that she could beat the cancer.
I knew that she was still alive. I say to her,
Now, don’t upset. But there was a time I didn't know
you. Years and years when you wore your hair like this--
[I gesture.]
All lost. All that time is lost.
She begins to cry, but we are together again.
Before I can introduce Hobo, I awake.

I begin to move my limbs.
There is gray in my beard but I do not see it, for I have no mirror. I believe that I am healed.

I believe that I am healed.

All that I have dreamed is real. All that has shortened
my breath and scarred me is a dream.

With what god do I negotiate the is arrangement?
And what more must I offer?

Asleep in Ireland [#39]
© 2000 Fammerée

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Richard Fammerée

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“Asleep in Ireland” appears in Lessons of Water & Thirst,
a book of poems by Richard Fammerée.

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