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When Borges Dreamed

"He wanted to dream a man; he wanted to dream him in minute entirety
and impose him on reality... He was seeking a soul worthy
of participating in the universe." — Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins

When Borges dreamed the man
who dreamed a man
I went to bed and dreamed an ear:
wanting to hear: murmuring ghosts, all secrets.

Spiraling cell by cell from auricle to cochlea,
semicircular canals winding blindly through
the most profoundly silent forest
of cilia—I nurtured them from root to tip.

Tympanic membrane next,
stretch taut and ready to listen.
I dreamed and dreamed
the tiny porous wafer,

wanting to hear children tell,
alone, at night, of heaven and hell,
to hear my father from across the world
full of explanation.

Continental driftings, the moon's ancient whirr,
nocturnal winds at timberline
in a place where nothing lives.

Hammer, anvil, stirrup and,
at labyrinthine end, the drum:
little Buddha nested in the dark middle—all sound and no sound.

When Borges dreamed the man
who dreamed a man
I dreamed an ear and woke to hear Creation
echoing in my own circular ruins.

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