by James Dickey
On distant sides of the bed We lie together in the winter house Trying to go away. Something thinks, "You must be made for it, And tune your quiet body like a fish To the stars of the Milky Way To pass into the star-sea, into sleep, By means of the heart of the current, The holy secret of flowing." Yet levels of depth are wrestling and rising from us; we are still. The quilt patternsa childs pink whale Has surfaced through ice at midnight And now is dancing upon The dead cold and middle of the air On my sons feet: His short legs are trampling the bedclothes Into the darkness above us Where the chill of consciousness broods Like a thing of absolute evil. I rise to do battle With my bare hands. I enter the faraway other Side of the struggling bed And turn him to face me. The stitched beast falls, and we Are sewn warmly into a sea-shroud It begins to haul through the dark. Holding my sons Best kicking foot in my hand, I begin to move with the moon As it must have felt when it went From the sea to dwell in the sky, As we near the vast beginning, The unborn stars of the wellhead, The secret of the game.