The Eden of the Author of Sleep

And sleep to grief as air is to the rain,
upon waking, no explanation, just blue

spoons of the eucalyptus measuring
and pouring torrents. A kind of winter.

As if what is real had been buried
and all sure surfaces blurred. Is it me

or the world, risen from beneath?
Mind refining ruin, or an outside

unseen hand, working—as if with
a small brush, for clarity—the details?

To open my eyes is the shape of a city
rising slowly through sand. Cloudy

quartz, my throat, cut unadorned
from the quarry, stone of city cemetery

and roads, to breathe is a mausoleum
breached. To think of Eden is speech

to fill a grave, tree in which knowledge
augurs only its limits, the word snake

a thought crawling in the shadow
of its body. Was it, Adam, like this

always, intellect in the mind’s small sty
mining confinement for meaning, sleep

to grief as air is to the rain, upon waking,
the world’s own weapons turned against it—

–Brian Teare

(Photo: Blackbird)

Some background on Teare from Reading Between A and B:

The recipient of Stegner, National Endowment for the Arts, and MacDowell Colony poetry fellowships, Brian Teare has published poetry in Ploughshares, Boston Review, Provincetown Arts, VOLT, Verse and The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative Poetry, among other publications. His first book, The Room Where I Was Born, was winner of the 2003 Brittingham Prize and the 2004 Triangle Award for Gay Poetry. Author of the recent chapbooks, Pilgrim and Transcendental Grammar Crown, he lives in Oakland, CA and is on the graduate writing faculties of the New College of California and California College of the Arts.