Formalities

The night before I left I
entered an elevator.

I.
Flying upwards into space or
pitching downwards, it’s all the same

Midway each dream the doors open:
Everything stops.

Suddenly the decision must be made: do I get out? Step freely
into nothingness?

Or remain, blind to the rushing air
the elevator / my protector
and casket?

I know, right.

The subconscious is sophomoric
in its metaphor.

II.
Before I left you I thought it was impossible.

I’d heard
that if you slept through some fatal, nonexistent accident
you’d simply never awaken —

Just die like that,
however you’d
inadvertently imagined.

Always wake up before you land. Always.
Or else.

Well.

Each night, my life ends in elevators
The body contracting
bones splintering,
goring some regal floor / ceiling
(depending on direction of force)

Lungs jammed between lips, liver lapping spleen, everything thick, wet
tonguey and lolling, skin bursting
a fractal of fractures, my
china plate ribs

And I wake up calmly, without a start, I am splayed like a starfish in our old sheets

heart all exposed.

III.
It is a dark wood, simply engraved
the buttons crackling white

And I press 8, because 8 was where I wanted to go but as soon as the doors chime shut,
I have a sinking feeling about the whole thing, and

sure enough we begin plummeting
down deep into the earth
the elevator and I

until

there is no earth left at all:
mantles, cores,
everything shredded around the edges, obliterated

Ladies and gentlemen we are approaching maximum height, in fact we are
now entering the thermosphere,
now entering the exosphere, oh heavens
we are
completely outtasphere, ha ha

darkness, and infinity
my elevator and I.

IV.
The other night I didn’t dream about anything.
The other night I was sleeping under the Milky Way

This was Rockport, Maine:

Insects rubbed their arthritic legs
in the tall fading grass
And across the way, a giant wooly dog slowly kicked a curved paw behind his giant wooly ear,
his faded collar swinging,
ringing
sweetly into the night

Somewhere, in all of this space
I lay sleeping

A satellite soared
brightly overhead.

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