That black telephone would ring and ring,
fixed to its wall. It was a ring that roamed
the mind, while night drummed down
its list of last and lost events, circadian
paths that tangled where they tried to pass,
crossed and uncrossed hours.
yield, caving in to sleep, the craved thing
neither wet nor warm, soft simple oblivion.
Yet you’d have none of it, stricken from light
as you were, turned and returned on currents
of exhaustion, low tides and high times,
unprettied by tricks of heat, cheated
Dream back to otherwise.
The laddered rope you climbed to see the lights
of town still dangles where you left it, a token
of time framed in an old exchange,
the horizon fallen away on all sides:
flattened, widened, extended unto vanishing.
Jacquelyn Pope is the author of Watermark. Hungerpots, her translations of the Dutch poet Hester Knibbe, is forthcoming. She is the recipient of a 2015 NEA Translation Fellowship, a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant, and awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.