— Vuong Vu
“Senility is not knowing when love goes.”
— Virginia De Araujo
It seems I’ve slept a century, waking
to find my beard fully grown
and my head of hair now bald as a stone.
Or could it have been I slept last night
and dreamed in one slumber a lifetime
of dreams? It’s all I can remember now
—dream upon dream.
And I dream of what anyone
would dream of—of love,
of making love, of being in love.
How the very mention of it warms
me still, the breath taken from me,
my face burning.
I am afraid I’ve lost count of my days—
Oh, if only I held onto a love letter,
a photograph, a pressed flower,
I’d have something to show of my life!
All I have are these love dreams and they too
are ghosts, like dust in morning light.
Last night, in my dream, I was
on a seashore and the mist rolled in
from the coast, smelling of salt and seaweed.
And there was someone close beside me,
whose face was hidden in the fog;
but surely, it was someone I loved,
someone with whom I was never lonely,
as I am so lonely now—
my arthritic hand, my dry lips,
the beating of this slow, slow heart.