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Church of the Adagio
by Philip Dacey

IN PRAISE OF FIVE A.M. 

Escort the sun up.
Sweep clean the sky-path he has to climb
as you pick the night’s dreams from your hair. 

Early risers catch sight
of efflorescent tail-feathers trailing
safely away into the underbrush,
the Great Bird’s daily escape. 

This is the hour of the laid egg.
Sleep late and miss its first warmth.
Your head is laid
awake in the darkness,
the softly glowing center of the room. 

The boots of your ancestor’s English lord
must be polished and set before his door
before he awakens. 

You have so much to do--
slip the stars into their bright envelopes
and mail them to the other side of the world,
then fold the dark carefully,
flag of the nation
you, now exiled, belong to in your sleep,
and slide it under the bed with its cousin the dust. 

The quiet weighs on the bedcovers, on you,
with the tender pressure of a lover
who pins you down to yourself,
and you can hear a faint bubbling from
the place within where a cold spring
rises from its source
and if you are lucky
floods your day.

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
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