Li-Young Lee


Pillow


There's nothing I can't find under there.
Voices in the trees, the missing pages
of the sea.

Everything but sleep.

And night is a river bridging
the speaking and listening banks,

a fortress, undefended and inviolate.

There's nothing that won't fit under it:
fountains clogged with mud and leaves,
the houses of my childhood.

And night begins when my mother's fingers
let go of the thread
they've been tying and untying
to touch toward our fraying story's hem.

Night is the shadow of my father's hands
setting the clock for resurrection.

Or is it the clock unraveled, the numbers flown?

Ther's nothing that hasn't found home there:
discarded wings, lost shoes, a broken alphabet.
Everything but sleep. And night begins

with the first beheading
of the jasmine, its captive fragrance
rid at last of burial clothes.

Submitted: Friday, July 21, 2006
Edited: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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Comments about this poem (Pillow by Li-Young Lee )

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  • Amberlee Carter (7/31/2006 10:38:00 AM)

    The collection of poetry this poem comes from ' a book of my nights' is one of the best collections of poetry I have ever read. I always wonder who puts these poems up by the famous poets, I assume it's the webmaster, right?
    Anyway, I love this poem, it speaks to the spirit....

    always,
    Amberlee (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Daly (7/21/2006 6:29:00 PM)

    This is a beautiful piece of writing, Li-Young. I love the iumagery and the flow of this somnambulist poem is so calming. A pleasure to read. (Report) Reply

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