In sleep I feared my soul would divide,
range free, having shrugged off the body,
go down to my basement where I once slept walked as a child,
our official childhood photographs, tilted a nail’s width.
My feet glided like that to the Earth Room,
behind a nondescript door in Soho where an angel sat
at a desk & pointed to the sign: no pictures,
for aren’t angels always pointing at things
and forbidding you to take them? The dirt was undulant, pure black,
verdant, like Walter de Maria’s hair, filled a former gallery
packed in since 1977 for me and this other guy
to gaze at in awe and when I turned away I saw
him wave to a man across the street in a window,
just transferring things from box to box,
exactly how my feet moved in sleep walk
all hoard and squander crushed like thyme under each sole.
You aren’t supposed to wake sleepwalkers, moving toward
their sure destination, for the soul is shameless about orders.
That dirt was dark as cake. Since the artist forbid reproduction
I took a memory instead of you, love, smiling under a great stair.
Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright and prose writer from Portland, Oregon. Recent poetry in TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Blast Furnace, Zone 3, The Psychoanalytic Review, The Meadow and Really System, forthcoming from Stonecoast Review, The Offing, Rivet, Nerve Lantern, Blue Lyra. She was runner-up for the 2014 poetry residency at the Arizona Poetry Center, judged by Farid Matuk. Her manuscript was a finalist in the 2016 Brooklyn-based Center for Book Arts contest. Recent prose in Poetica and humor in Defenestration. She was a finalist for the 2016 Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship. Her play in verse was in the Emerging Female Playwright Festival of the Manhattan Shakespeare Project. Other plays have been performed in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Valdez, Alaska. Fellowships/awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Berta Anolic Arts Fellowship to Jerusalem, others. She’s an editor at Narrative and at the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.
The Ekphrastic Review
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