Another Dream

Brad Leithauser

             Unreckonable,
          the distance crossed to reach
       the dark before this lighted ledge no
     deeper than a bookshelf, holding a white beach
   with two live finger-puppet figures – but here
  you stand, stooping before them, nonetheless.
You’ve made it; lean closer; and surely, yes
that is the smell of brine ... And oh yes such
minute dioramic ingenuities! (as in
the way the kelp, long abandoned by the sea
as hopelessly tangled, comes with tiny, tinny flies
among its lichen-like salt-stain blossoms ...) She,

                 wearing nothing,
                evidently, under her
              powder-blue plastic raincoat,
            hunches by a driftwood fire, face so astir
          with reflections, one can’t help reading there
       a crystallising impulse to be elsewhere. He – well,
he’s another matter, isn’t he? Truth to tell,
thinking’s the furthest thing from his thoughts
as he tilts back on tiptoe till his spine cracks
satisfyingly, next assesses the ocean, section
by section, with a gaze that says: ‘All this,
too, coming my way – isn’t it perfection?’