“a safe, well-defined, acceptable unknown”
……….—René Magritte

In the arranging of morning, something
gets lost, a comb or an idea,

most certainly the particulars of your dream,
though all day you feel as if ticks

explore your body. You’ve been
nowhere near high grass or a solemn wood.

The ticks leap into your imagination unbidden,
like the witch in a German tale with her comb

or like a ghost someone else has promised.
Neuroscientists find no synapse

to explain this lack of fealty, this crevasse
between fear and desire. We are animals.

All day you (I, we) reach under
our clothes to find evidence of dreams.


First published in the North American Review. Reprinted with permission of the poet.

Read work by and about this poet here, here, and here.




Athena Kildegaard is the author of five books of poetry, most recently…

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