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Night Arrival

Read by Nick McRae

My eyes read my eyelids when I dream
the long straight ache of miles below.
It’s exhausting, the great chain of being

alive, bed to the floor, floor to the planet.
The heart beats its pillow like a path.
Some nights I walk forever that way,

unsure of what it is I walk, if what
they say is true, that the world as we know it
stands on the back of an elephant

who stands on a turtle, and under him
another, and so on down the endless stairs.
What is it that speaks before it speaks.

That thing you cannot find the words for,
it falls away the moment that you find them.
Some days you hear it singing as it falls.

What does it explain if I believe
language is the mother of its language.
Every voice a child, a little stranger,

born of flesh and the hole inside it.
If you holler in this well, you hear
it reply in the form of a question.

The limits of my language are the beginnings
of my world. Wait and see, says the world.
And see, and see, the tunnel of the eye.

Bruce Bond’s most recent collections of poetry include Choir of the Wells (A trilogy of new books; Etruscan Press, forthcoming), The Visible (LSU, forthcoming), Peal (Etruscan, 2009), and Blind Rain (Finalist, The Poet’s Prize, LSU, 2008). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas and Poetry Editor for American Literary Review.