As Is – James Galvin

When she sleeps
She must be in Senegal somewhere.
The tide goes out from every shore
In the world,
And in the middle of the sea
A mountain made of water holds its breath.

When she sleeps
Everything depends
On all the wheel barrows
Except the red one.
Ordinary women
Bump into walls,
And Shakespeare writes
One more sonnet
None of us will ever read.

When she sleeps
The automobiles of the elderly
Drift to the shoulder
Out of respect.
Ducks tuck heads under wings,
And pelicans can’t make water landings.
They flip like confetti in wind.

When she sleeps
The moon hums,
Unable to rise or fall.
A green kite with a broken string
Thrashes in bare branches.
I stay awake to make sure she sleeps
(I never trusted that wheel
Barrow).

When she sleeps
I believe
I believe
I believe
I’ll never break these chains.

Don’t wake up, babe.
You’re just too beautiful as is.

Excuse me while I go melt in puddle somewhere. I just received a book of Galvin’s work in the mail, As Is, and of course my favorite so far is the title piece. This book is very different from the Galvin I’ve read so far, but I like it. I don’t know HOW he makes that last couplet here work so well. This guy successfully used the term “babe” in a poem. Also, referenced red wheelbarrows in a way that makes me wonder if it’s a W.C. Williams allusion, but I’m not sure. 

Regardless, this is wonderful.

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