After your death, I begin to dream of a city raised
like a barn—its buildings stand up all at once
and then the roof’s put on. The dream recurs.
My bedsheets hold a field of cities waiting to be built.
This gives the illusion that thoughts hang
together somehow, at least a notion that in daylight
some construction might transpire, and so it is
that I start to lay the plan for a city.
I sketch in single-point perspective with my paper pinned
to the roof. My hand strains to recall another
painted ceiling. I fabricate the memory, “my breastbone
visibly grows like a harp,” and I draft slender rafters
in its image. A city always wants a sky, and a barn
already has a roof and Michelangelo didn’t need to paint
his god from a grid. It is true that a barn can be built
in a day and decades pass before it falls.
Listen to this poem: