His face is a shroud. His face is itself
faceless. It is every face softening
to mere thaw, running a river, turning,
turned, around the bend. Gone, away.
I had a dream, was delivered from it to
a lightless morning. The clouds outside
mutated slowly into shapes and figures,
symbols never seen before, already seen:
his lips covering the mouthpiece of a milk-pearl
abalone flute, his fingers sifting through
blessing powder the worn color of turmeric.
After that, I did not dream for many nights
and days were spent driving the blue-gray coils
of a sleepless highway. At a gas station the pump’s
TV monitor blazed, wordless. His face flickered
in and out with the poor reception — first a man,
his nose angled and proud, then a boy biting
the inside of his cheek. When the picture
came back on he was a bear cub, hunched
over and shoulders drawn, but eyes bright,
black, sharp like the stones in the creek
outside my bedroom window. The gas pump
jerked against the car, the clouds rolled in.
The screen went dark. His face was still there.