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Nocturnal Stanzas
from Xavier Villaurrutia's
Nostalgia for Death & Hieroglyphs of Desire

Sleepwalking, both asleep and awake,
I silently cross the sunken city.
And I doubt! And I dare not ask
if my life is a dream, or from a dream awaking.

At night, as though the world were hollow,
the sound of my footprints, far off, protracted.
And I fear they're nothing but the echoes
of someone else's steps that passed here long ago.

The fear of being nothing more than a scrap of the dream
of someone—is it God?—who dreams in this bitter world.
The fear that this someone—is it God?—master
of a lengthening, deepening sleep, will wake.

Star, you appear awake and quivering,
shy apparition in the impenetrable sky,
you, like me, for centuries have been cold and dead,
but by your own light you still are visible.

I will be dust in the dust, oblivion's oblivion,
but someone in the wretchedness of some empty night,
without his knowing, without my knowing, someone still unborn
will with my words speak the sorrow of his night.

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Jillian Schweitzer reviews
Sky Burial

by Dana Levin

Very well done. I always enjoy Dana Levin's poetry.

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