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after Chagall’s I and the Village


And when you look into the eye of the horse

its pupil white and transparent

and see the horse–dreams there

that the horse is dreaming of the cow

who is only a cow without dreams of her own

milk squirting into the bucket

that the girl in the green skirt leans over

careful not to waste a drop

and the girl imagines herself outside of the village

with its lifeblood of gossip and crooked capped boys,

with violets in their hearts, as if these were enough

and the cobbler’s son looks into her eyes

and sees her girl–dreams there

sees them distant and strange

like paintings with perspectives flung sideways


She dreams a soldier in a ragged jacket

whose face inhabits the entire doorway of a church

and a sky so tiny she could swallow it

so that entire galaxies swirl in her chest

and in the red glitter of stars, and a bride forever

floats to a whole circus of violins

tasting of amber and rain


and she looks into the eye of the painter


and the cobbler’s boy seeing this stops breathing

for a moment, and the sound is so loud

the cow in the horse’s dream looks up and

steps out of it, into something vast and blue


And the girl continues to milk the air

The bucket holds on to its emptiness


The horse can’t help what it dreams

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