By Kate Farrel

for my mother

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.
 —John 21:9

I think I was dreaming of        the atmosphere of dreams,
or is it only certain dreams:        low clouds almost
hide the water; you slip outside,        untie the boat, take
it out beyond the harbor; a world        that knows you
pulls you into just the knowing        it’s composed of;
Then heading home, you wake        up dreaming
of the atmosphere in which        you still half-float

or think of the kind of        lullaby where a child
sets sail for a distant        kingdom; the singer sings
as if the boat will        return, as if sleeper and singer
meet in the dream;        the singer watches from
the dock; the boat,        the farthest dot on the sea;
I think I was sailing        to that kind of meeting

or take a lit room above        a dark city where
the composer slow-dances        with the soprano
past boats and bridges, stars        and rivers; only
love, says the song, is never        blind; any
two have a link unlike any        other; with eyes
closed, you would find        one another, past
sleep and death and        unbelief; he goes

to the kitchen; she        opens a book; I guess
we were moving        through levels of ourselves,
ways of thinking,        degrees of being; from love
to love, purposeless        surface to surfaceless purpose
into the dream behind        the dream: where
the pulse unties; the boat        pulls free; she steers

it out from the inlet to open        water, shifts the net to
the other side, sees a figure        onshore, jumps into
the water, swims toward        land like a young
apostle; I think I was        dreaming of finding the way
across the night to        the room through the door
where the one we        sailed away from
is making breakfast        on the shore.

Kate Farrell is the author of seven books, including Art & Wonder: An Illustrated Anthology of Visionary Poetry. Her essay “Faithful to Mystery” appears in Best American Spiritual Writing 2007, edited by Philip Zaleski.

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