When I was a child,

before my mother died,

I would rush

into her room

 

and

 

hold my dreams out to her like

paper swans and she would take them.

 

Would hold them to the light,

would track the veins of them,

their secrets, would                 listen.

 

What does it mean?                I would ask her.

And she would tell me.

 

Nights when the pendulum of love swings between always and never. — Celan.

 

In the dream last night

we

were in a car,

 

hurtling down the side of a cliff toward the ocean,

driving in the wrong direction,

as though there is a right direction to hurtle down the side of a cliff.

 

But this was part of the dream’s problem:

what

we

were

on

was

not

a

road,

but we were going against the grain of it anyway,

barreling wildly along.

 

                        Terrible.

 

Though the seascape was so beautiful,

and the view was exalting.

 

I alternated between a kind of

existential remove and a terrified anxiety,

 

and I went back and forth between the states about 13 times

as we drove on.

 

Then I woke up, thinking about

the Celan,

the between,

the silent letter in cliff,

the silent letter in night,

the silent letter in know,

 

I couldn’t remember who was driving but it’s possible that it was me, or else impossible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<

In the distance, a mountain

 

 

Here is a mountain. In the distance, a mountain. Here is a little unperturbed egg. Here is a morning light. Here is a quince. Here is a quince paste. Here is a quail egg. Here is a teenaged quail. Here is a swallow, here is a sparrow, here is a thirst. Here is a tall glass of water. Here is a ritual. Here is a swarm of bees. Here is a home for bees. Here are your only knees. Barring unseen circumstances, here are your only knees. Here is your whole life. Here are your unseen circumstances. Here is your great escape. Here is your sweet drink. Here is your regret. Here is your egret. Here is your daffodil, undying.

 

Here are your organized insides, here is your quail stew, here is your tail. Your tail is wagging. Here is your dispersion. Here is your discernment. Here is your desert goat. Here is your true love, your merciless sun. Here is the hole in your eyes where the sun burned through. Here are your lakes. Here are the separate lakes that your parents remember, each to each. Here is a silver loop. Here is a bitter herb. Here, some dill.

 

Last night, I had a familiar dream. I tried to call my mom.  I was matriculating as a college freshman. I was almost 20 not almost 40. I was taking a class called: the excavation of a feminist pillared hegemony, a study of plumage and tendency among three legged birds in the snow. That’s what the words were. I saw the syllabus in my dream.  I was one of only three students in the class, the professor was beautiful and remote, with deep set eyes and long wild hair. I was excited by the material, and by the possibility of what I might learn.  I called my mom to tell her about it. It went straight to voicemail.  In my dream my mom’s number started with a 646 and not a 917, innocuous enough, but I knew it as a first sign of trouble, and dialing, I got so scared. What if something happened to her? What if she was hurt somewhere? What if I couldn’t find her? And then in my dream, I remembered: she was dead, it went to voicemail because she was dead, her phone was dead and she was dead. I woke up. No clue what country I was in, or what time of day, and for one pulse of a second I thought, thank god: only only only a dream.

 

It is hard to see where one thing ends. Here is a little shape of fruit.  A fig fruit. Here is an eggplant. Here is an egg. Here is a woman watering nightshades on the other side of the world.  Here is true love between animals. The shortest distance between two points is true love between animals.  Here is ice grass growing along the ocean. Here is a burnt offering.  Here is a burning bush. Here is a massacre.  Here is the present tense.

 

 

 

 

1)

Surprise me...

What do Loons do at Night?

 

 

There are so many bird homonyms, its uncanny. Canary, uncanny.  Swallow, swallow.  Chicken, chicken. Loon, Tern.

 

I spent the day at my mother’s house, waist deep in her belongings, inch by inch, crawling through them on the floor, hairbrushes and scarves and cowboy boots and letters and photos and matchbooks and to do lists and hand bags and tweezers and prayer books. After the day I lie in bed and can’t sleep, many hours, no sleep. When my mom was dying I couldn’t sleep, and after she died I couldn’t sleep. I learned a long time ago that it’s not a good idea to pray to god to sleep, because if it doesn’t work, not only can you not sleep, but you also start to wonder if maybe there is no god. Instead of praying, I think of lakes.  My mother taught me her love of lakes.  The mystery of a lake. Cold and hot spots in a lake, a tiny island in the center. What is on the lake? A canoe, a dock, a dingy, a lifeboat, a loon. What do loons do at night, I wonder, unsleeping, and because it’s so easy I look it up: what do loons do at night? I read about it for a while. They are not exactly nocturnal but they are up a lot, they call out to each other at night, stay warm, or else they travel.   I look at the questions other people have asked about loons most recently. Normal questions: What do loons look like? What is a common loon? Are loons extinct? And then this question: what does a loon? That’s it, the whole question. What does a loon? I love this question. I love its construction, what it knows to ask. What does a loon? What does a loon?

 

In fits and starts, a loon.  By turns, a loon.  By loons, a tern.  And because I’m on a good path, I google the migratory patterns of terns and I learn they move the most of almost any bird, from the anti artic to the arctic and back again every year. The tern is also called the sea swallow: a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, would swallow, on the other hand, a loon migrates less than a tern, but still a lot by bird standards, which are high.  A loon’s bones fit together well for flying, loon bone, lone loon, loon, alone. I wonder if they know each other, terns and loons, if they cross flight paths in the night, I wonder if they ever mate, if they rescue each other from drought and sorrow and arctic winds, if maybe they have one of those unlikely, against all odds animal connections that warm the heart, like some orphaned hippos do with some orphaned tortoises elsewhere in the world. I get excited and so I google: tern and loon friendship, I hope for photos. Instead, google comes up with nothing, asks, did you mean: true love friendship? I did, I do.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Lili Glauber lives and writes in Brooklyn, and elsewhere.  She is a therapist and youth advocate for older teenagers in foster care in NYC.  She enjoys animals, homonyms, and other planets.

<

SIREN

Surprise me...

 

 

 

When I was a child,

before my mother died,

I would rush

into her room

 

and

 

hold my dreams out to her like

paper swans and she would take them.

 

Would hold them to the light,

would track the veins of them,

their secrets, would                 listen.

 

What does it mean?                I would ask her.

And she would tell me.

 

Nights when the pendulum of love swings between always and never. — Celan.

 

In the dream last night

we

were in a car,

 

hurtling down the side of a cliff toward the ocean,

driving in the wrong direction,

as though there is a right direction to hurtle down the side of a cliff.

 

But this was part of the dream’s problem:

what

we

were

on

was

not

a

road,

but we were going against the grain of it anyway,

barreling wildly along.

 

                        Terrible.

 

Though the seascape was so beautiful,

and the view was exalting.

 

I alternated between a kind of

existential remove and a terrified anxiety,

 

and I went back and forth between the states about 13 times

as we drove on.

 

Then I woke up, thinking about

the Celan,

the between,

the silent letter in cliff,

the silent letter in night,

the silent letter in know,

 

I couldn’t remember who was driving but it’s possible that it was me, or else impossible.

 

 

 

 

<

<

Surprise me...

 

 

 

When I was a child,

before my mother died,

I would rush

into her room

 

and

 

hold my dreams out to her like

paper swans and she would take them.

 

Would hold them to the light,

would track the veins of them,

their secrets, would                 listen.

 

What does it mean?                I would ask her.

And she would tell me.

 

Nights when the pendulum of love swings between always and never. — Celan.

 

In the dream last night

we

were in a car,

 

hurtling down the side of a cliff toward the ocean,

driving in the wrong direction,

as though there is a right direction to hurtle down the side of a cliff.

 

But this was part of the dream’s problem:

what

we

were

on

was

not

a

road,

but we were going against the grain of it anyway,

barreling wildly along.

 

                        Terrible.

 

Though the seascape was so beautiful,

and the view was exalting.

 

I alternated between a kind of

existential remove and a terrified anxiety,

 

and I went back and forth between the states about 13 times

as we drove on.

 

Then I woke up, thinking about

the Celan,

the between,

the silent letter in cliff,

the silent letter in night,

the silent letter in know,

 

I couldn’t remember who was driving but it’s possible that it was me, or else impossible.

 

 

 

 

SIREN

Surprise me...

 

 

 

When I was a child,

before my mother died,

I would rush

into her room

 

and

 

hold my dreams out to her like

paper swans and she would take them.

 

Would hold them to the light,

would track the veins of them,

their secrets, would                 listen.

 

What does it mean?                I would ask her.

And she would tell me.

 

Nights when the pendulum of love swings between always and never. — Celan.

 

In the dream last night

we

were in a car,

 

hurtling down the side of a cliff toward the ocean,

driving in the wrong direction,

as though there is a right direction to hurtle down the side of a cliff.

 

But this was part of the dream’s problem:

what

we

were

on

was

not

a

road,

but we were going against the grain of it anyway,

barreling wildly along.

 

                        Terrible.

 

Though the seascape was so beautiful,

and the view was exalting.

 

I alternated between a kind of

existential remove and a terrified anxiety,

 

and I went back and forth between the states about 13 times

as we drove on.

 

Then I woke up, thinking about

the Celan,

the between,

the silent letter in cliff,

the silent letter in night,

the silent letter in know,

 

I couldn’t remember who was driving but it’s possible that it was me, or else impossible.