It is late night when a shape like a word
held in the fastness of a stone mould
forces her from sleep.
At the level of waking it seems near to touch,
as if she were that child’s-book princess
disturbed through mounds of feathers by a burrowed pea.
Turning, she catches the arms of familiar people;
they swing toward her bed like well-hinged doors
and their lips hold admonishment and an old comfort.
Yet in the white arc from her bed light
she finds herself alone, forming night words,
soluble as the patterns when she closes her eyes.
She has lost sleep’s weightlessness,
her membraned walls of dream,
and is no nearer to those bolder syllables
that like lodged atoms
will burst that perfect stillness into flower.