My brother & I found a slingshot
& a basket full of stars.
All through the night we ran
deep into the woods
& climbed high into the oak trees
until our legs ached
against the branches, & the shadows
grew thick below us.
& while we were listening for the trains
to fade into the distance,
the washing sound of horses pulling us
home in waves, the moon—
the moon like our mother—gave way
& disappeared over our shoulders.
& in its place we found darkness.
A cavity in the mouth of night
where we took turns dipping our hands
into the basket,
each handful of stars, a new galaxy,
slung out into the cold wilderness
until the mouth swayed
underneath the weight of decoration.
& what few stars were left we divided,
turning them in our coat pockets
with admiration, carrying them down
to the edge of the woods,
down to the clearing, where we could hear
the wind sweep through
thicket & weed not with a harshness—
but a whirr.
A mumbling wind, unsorted, untamed.
& underneath the open sky
the moon crawled back into view
calling for our attention,
calling us home—where in the driveway,
beneath the streetlights,
we took those stars & swallowed them
whole. Each star
a golden marble, a small bead of honey—
radiant & incendiary.
Our bodies glowing like lakes on fire:
dark at times, but full of life.
Not the soundof the siren
but the breath of it the chatter of crows
quivering in grey light we learned to dismiss the sky
the corridor of rainthe silence
the concessionsof broken glass
we only have to hearthe house as it begins to fall
the blue jayon damp red leaves
washed in colorthe night
tethered to our waistspouring
our shadowswhispering to the mirror
in all formsof streetlight
because we fellasleep
just like the radiopredicted
There are dreams here
that I forgot to mention.
The same dreams I’ve had
before. The slow crank
of a wind-up toy, pretty
little thing. A mother calls
her son from a distance.
A marble is dropped
in a porcelain sink.
The phone rings and rings,
the marble turns and turns.
Again there is a train
in your hands, insoluble.
Still, there is time.
This time you’re awake
and the phone is silent.
This time you cannot move,
and this does not make sense
except when you hear it.
Yes, the marble will stall.
Yes, this is still a dream.
How a pause is not a silence,
but rather, a misdirection.
And of distance:
a mother has called.
Her voice dislodged
An unopened package,
the contents of which remain
unknown. This time a coin spins,
heads or tails? How hard it must be
to choose which side to fall on.
To be held in relation to another.
To be held at all. And yet,
the dreams continue.
I am painting a picture.
Oil on canvas, tar on lungs.
The way all things breathe
differently. A paint brush,
a lasso, swung out and dragged
over and over. Again,
I forget how many times
I’ve been here before.
The way the wind negotiates
with the blades of a turbine,
into unfamiliar pieces.
A marble is calling.
A mother is dropped.
A package remains unopened.
and take souvenirs from dreams that did not ask to be taken: the sound of insects before the rain, the day old glass of water and the taste of copper, the violet sky, ephemeral; no mention of any other color.
We made rain
Paul Asta was born in South Korea. He is a bookbinder and writer from the Chicago Suburbs. Currently, he resides in Cork, Ireland studying Creative Writing at University College Cork on a Fulbright grant. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Indiana University Bloomington where he earned his M.F.A. in Poetry. You can find out more at: paulasta.com.