If Stone Dreams

We cannot know this statue, this satyr

with his head propped on a wineskin;

we cannot know if he dreams. In fact,

none can know in spite of aeons

 

of looking, of examining where his hip

is eaten away, eroded as if by our eyes.

For what has been lost we are to blame,

for what has been kept to be thrown

away. He sleeps, his brow furrowed, lips

 

furled, he sleeps in drunken stupor and his snores

though silent still insist. The need to be

drunk, we share this need to let consciousness

 

go. Satyr is the mentor

of blackout. He is the Bacchus we worship

 

within us. Observe in time his beard has grown

into the jug as man and vessel merge.

Together they seem content. He sleeps

because the wine has been drained.

There's no more stress, nor straining for he

 

no longer feels his hip, his brain, this unbearable

lightness. Now stone

seems to embrace this hallowed notion

of empty, of emptying space, this erasure, this sage

trace we sometimes leave behind. He is both

 

absent and present, a fading figure in a picture,

familiar, yet unrecognized,

                    ourselves at another age.

Mary di Michele, “If Stone Dreams,” from Debriefing the Rose: Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Mary di Michele. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Debriefing the Rose: Poems (House of Anansi Press, 1998)