for James Longenbach
Fine-grained dawn still stamped with the last dream’s runes,
bird-tracks scuttled, dashed in startled flight.
Vacant room, the square press of it
just left of the heart.
In 1915 Kafka dreamed an ancient sword
inserted so precisely into his back at the base
of his neck, there was no blood or wound.
His friends stood on chairs to withdraw it.
His two-handed heft. It was a splendid weapon,
he wrote. Crusaders might have used it.
When I open my mouth, I open
my eyes. Parted curtains, the street
a blank scroll. What do I call it,
this aperture which will not close.