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And your mother is high in her pillows,
Palm print against her rosy cheek.
A sun shining brightly above my storm;
A moon holding water above my dry fields.
Stepping in and out of her paintings
Full of birds and fishes and ruined temples
And skies full of sleeping lovers.
In the courtyard, the silver stars were burning
And the moon was hiding among the fish.
In the night sky, the bear and lion wrestled
As the water bearer was crossing over a dry land.
And the fish, high in the jacaranda tree,
The fish who is dreaming as he waits to sleep,
Guarding our doorway where the sand is drifting;
Saw the whitewashed herdsman returning
And, crossing over the wall,
Lift up his dewy shears
And snip to pieces the starry sky.
In the canal the children were nightfishing.
From the fire escape, they let down lines.
Through their jeweled nets were slipping,
Buttery fragments of the moon.
A grandfather's clock had landed on their net,
Panting, a tired swimmer.
As they drew closer,
Faintly, he breathed the hour to them.
A boy's religious medal dangled in the water.
A tired eye swam up to meet him.
The ancient flounder had come to view the city lights.
In his eyes were volcanoes and trilobites.
He had been awake forever, he would sleep forever.
A boat carried green and purple lanterns,
Pushing a low wave over the sidewalk.
The boatman turned suddenly toward me
And his face changed to a bowl full of carp.
He steered down a narrow side canal
And where he went, the buildings dissolved.
He moved where fish had swallowed lanterns.
Jade water whirled at the oartips.
He put the city underwater.
He changed the children into fish.
The drowned clock was striking in the empty square,
Birds still flocking in the stone churchyard,
As the boat skimmed just above the rooftops.