[Table of Contents]



Alexandria Hall



A dog: a mammal: small and made of skin and hair: a sac of breathing:
pump, a little lump of filter: sac of swell: a life: a living smell: duration
of a cycle of such puff and puff of air. A life: a form: not merely lung
or function, but a shape delimited and round: coherence and extremity:
each rough foot pad its clawed crown and click, the ticking pup of stairs:
and huff and snort and all eruptions: sounded need and fear. A form:
an order: rhythmic as the breath, but slower: mornings: rattle of food
pellets in a plastic bowl: a bowl with raised internal walls, a little
labyrinthine, to slow intake, improve digestion: check: to be attentive:
monthly pills for parasite prevention: care: to fuss and tend: to keep
with food and leash, to knead. An order: structure and command:
a stress of tenderness: the handler's anxious hand and need: my need
to slow, meet need and keep. Command: to lead: a life and tethering,
one tries. A life: my silly charge: attendant, sleeping by my side.



But how do I get back to the dream? What
was it that rang in me like a clapper
in a bell. It's on the tip of my tongue.
It was not a point, but a line. The tip
of my tongue. The cusp. How near. Not a point,
but a line. How lush. If I could. The cusp.
How near. To the brink. How lush. If I could.
How, on the tip of my—brimming, brimming.
On the verge, and I slipped. But the echo.
And I slipped, but the oh, but the echo.



Waking gives way to mourning and becomes
                        waiting turns into warning verges on
                                                weighing slips into meaning fades into
                                                                        waning brings about filling draws near to               
meeting generates feeling gives way to
                        leaning and becomes falling turns into
                                                losing verges on facing slips into
                                                                        leaving fades into taking verges on dreaming.




Out of the firm grip some what began lifting. The
what, out of a rich hum, rose. Pulled from a warm

mist, the what was. I, glued lid, numb limb, was what,
and thoughtless, imageless, heard words roll over,

just sound and skins, no filling: from hum, mmm,
turned like a water wheel, like washing, the drip

and slosh of it, then neater, and more defined, one
at a time, passing: Rue. Rube. Ruby-throated. Light

then, on the windowsill. Eyes closed. Root. Ruin.
Opened. Soft "oh" of the mourning dove. Rheum.




I dreamt of you in your gray shirt.
So close but not touching.
Watch how quickly time rounds and ripens.
Hey, stay a while. I picked these berries.
The juice is sweet. It's sweet, I think.
I thought. I can't remember. I swear I knew.
I had it in mind. Tried to hold on, but I forgot.
But I know that I knew. I think I did. So I thought.





"Dreaming. Rinsing." grew out of a collaboration with composer Hannah Beatrice Lipton. Lately, I keep getting the feeling, upon waking, that I was nearing something really important in a dream, but whatever it is, it slips away, leaving just an impression or an echo. "Care" is for my dear poodle/possum-mix, Pancho.