Last night I watched you breathing,
listened to the graylags squabble,
and caught what could have been gunfire
but turned to fireworks in my head;
a celebration. And in the dark –
it is always so consistently dark –
I tried to reconfigure time
and wondered whether now,
at 4:26 am, we should say the day
has already begun or if the spell
of sleep that holds you means
the only true translation for morning
is a continuation of the night.
Keep breathing, my love,
slow and steady like the tide
on the marina that used to rock
those tiny fishing boats we mocked,
that broken one, as if it were a cradle
for the baby we were never really
going to have. What will happen
when the rain stops?
Who will see – drapes drawn –
the skies clear and the geese flown?
Not you or I, my darling, drowning
as we are in the pull and drag
of perpetual evening.
Let it rise and fall, your heavy
chest. Let it rise like the light and fall
like the night. It will be evening still.
Hush hush the traffic is stopping
though ice will form and melt
between the mountains
and rivers will run to the valleys
even when there is no star
to guide them. The bedroom
clock has given up the ghost –
all the winding and tightening
done, only quiet dreams left here.
Draw deep, my dear, and sleep.
Cheryl Moskowitz reads ‘November in Reykjavík’ on SoundCloud. Music by Alastair Gavin.
Cheryl Moskowitz has authored two poetry collections and one novel. Her poems appear widely in magazines in the UK and the US. Her pamphlet Maternal Impression is forthcoming from Against the Grain Press in Spring 2021. Twitter @cherylmoskowitz