Douglas Messerli

Night and Day


for Howard

Every night now I shoot the stars
like a soldier in a magic land
where the world has sunk into ash.
In my sleep I see a burning
to light all the cities of the map.
I call your name without knowing.
I call knowledge into me without your arrival,
shoot another and lay down my gun.
I beg the wind, please leave me a breath,
but the years run by in a vacuous rush.

I pray that you will forget me
without regret. But no, in the morning
you sit up. The black tar of daybreak
is cracked by your very yawn.
Shhh, you whisper. There are no stars.
There are no years. The map is trapped
in the trunk of the car. In the rain everything
is green again. And the gun you held
was my arm. Come along, it's time to get up!

13 November 2003