For the Sleepwalkers
By Edward Hirsch
Tonight I want to say something wonderful
for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
in their legs, so much faith in the invisible
arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.
I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing
to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,
palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
Always they return home safely, like blind men
who know it is morning by feeling shadows.
And always they wake up as themselves again.
That's why I want to say something astonishing
like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.
Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music
of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
And now our hearts are thich black fists
flying back to the glove of our chests.
We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise our of their calm beds
and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and suprised.
The author of the poem is the same Edward Hirsch who writes Poet's Choice in The Washington Post; this is the very first poem of his I ever read, in Daniel Hoffman's poetry workshop at the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. I love the mystical darkness of this one, and the faith.
Thanks very much everyone who left feedback on what's R versus what's NC17, not that there was any consensus. The rimming stayed in the fic, though it's toned down somewhat from the first draft as I wasn't sure what some of the details were actually there to show; the point of this bit wasn't to arouse but to show intimacy through the flesh, and I think sometimes the smut itself can distract from the purpose of the smut if it's in a longer story. I know I feel sort of drained even after a really good sex scene in a fic that otherwise did not need the level of detail about whose fingers were in which orifices and for how long. So I tried to take out everything that felt emotionally detached to me. It's probably still too NC17 for Fiction Alley, but I may clip it a bit and then let them decide.
And I answered no comments yesterday because when I was not being a minion or working, I was editing said fic, which is now posted though I suspect it will get pecked at some more. Apologies to anyone to whom I owe a note. (Brief compensatory pimp: improperlydone's "Floating", delicious but not syrupy or heavy Remus/Sirius post-GoF.) Today is my younger son's eighth birthday, I have many chores to do this afternoon and tonight we are going out to dinner en masse with the grandparents (to Bugaboo Creek, his choice, so he can get kissed by the moose). Must go make preparations.
Meanwhile, fear for the world. I had thought I needed an American VP, but my cabinet seems to be quite international: