When Thoughts Arrive in the Night (a cento)

January 15, 2010
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The night is so bright a squirrel reads
a novel on his branch, without clicking on the light.
Somewhere in a small dream
I went to the window and gazed at a
bull, huge and pink, in a field of snow.
You hear him talking,
but it doesn’t sound like a voice.

There’s a cricket warming up his cello.
Now the mountains are dancing, the mountains.
The mountains are like the backs
of friendly dinosaurs.
I give her my breath,
she turns it into rustling leaves.
I realize I see much clearer
what leafless branches show.
All the leaves can see
is sky, appallingly wide.

Now, if the mind had fingers,
it would touch this thought:
I can explain greed: fear of death.
It shines; even now
in the moment before it disappears.
How does the catbird feel,
when the blue eggs break
and become little catbirds?
May my heart always be open to the little
birds who are the secrets of living.

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