Foreign Visitors


what you’ll think of
when i say 
“the torn blanket of sleep” 
might surprise both of us.

what you’ll be reminded of 
when i describe a bowl of soup
might make us laugh or cry.

our reveries, 
the color of the trees,
the names of our parents,
a word for pain,
will come to us in the same way
but they will tell a different tale. 

when we dream, 
whatever that dream contains, 
we will both be dreaming.
and whatever is the first thing to greet us in the morning, 
we both will have to open our eyes.

i tell myself
these things now
because you are so strange.
and because you are
foreign and unknown,
i know
i cannot see you.

it’s clear  
that because i’m frightened of you,
i’m blinding myself
with my own precocious understanding.

do me a favor,
will you?
stop me.
look at me.
help me accept the wisdom 
that not knowing is most intimate.

— gene alexander

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