First a knocking.

Then, the lights open their eyes.

First man: Pumpkin moon tonight, with a river inside. A river, I swear it.

The Second man shakes his head and replies:

No, no. Paper-maiché-like a Japanese lantern. A lantern on the river. He makes a slight motion with his hand. Up, then down. (Which, of course, the other does not see.)

But now he is thinking of pumpkins. An open field of them, the taut hollow beneath his fingers and the smooth skin against his palm.

A patch of pumpkins grows up out of the concrete

while the First man begins to feel the quiet lapping of waves on his naked toes:

I saw a funeral once when I was stationed in ________. A whole family had been killed in a raid and for each member they set a lantern on the water. Two went unlit because they had no more candles.

The Second man sees the river beyond the pumpkin patch with fireflies' shimmering gauze reflecting, and then:

They say when you die there is a light.

Each man falls silent.

In sleep they dream a river of pumpkins and lights.




Bone white of the seagull
against a storm dark sky.

this house
a long hollowed temple.

Moth wings
loose in a drawer

the folded letter,
a neck bent in sleep:

When it comes to this-
you steal your own bones for soup.

the continual bruising of the shore.