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Pillow

"There’s nothing I can’t find under there.

Voices in the trees, the missing pages

of the sea.

Everything but sleep.

And night is a river bridging

the speaking and the listening banks,

a fortress, undefended and inviolate.

There’s nothing that won’t fit under it:

fountains clogged with mud and leaves,

the houses of my childhood.

And night begins when my mother’s fingers

let go of the thread

they’ve been tying and untying

to touch toward our fraying story’s hem.

Night is the shadow of my father’s hands

setting the clock for resurrection.

Or is it the clock unraveled, the numbers flown?

There’s nothing that hasn’t found home there:

discarded wings, lost shoes, a broken alphabet.

Everything but sleep. And night begins

with the first beheading 

of the jasmine, its captive fragrance

rid at last of burial clothes.”

(c) Li-Young Lee, from Book of My Nights

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