In Tlön, Uqbar

Nina Puro

“There are objects composed of two terms, one of visual and another of auditory character: the color of the rising sun and the faraway cry of a bird. There are objects of many terms: the sun and the water on a swimmer's chest, the vague tremulous rose color we see with our eyes closed, the sensation of being carried along by a river and also by sleep.”—Borges, Tlön, Uqbar


Used to dream of seeing a girl I’ve never seen
        on a street I’ve never been on
set herself on fire. The dark part in her hair
        like where wings knit together
                or where a knife cuts.

I don’t know where you go when you sleep.
I’m in your room, but I’m not there.              Don’t know who sleeps on the other side.
                        If you go into the kitchen, there's the air in the sink
                between the tap and the drain
and all the solid objects that have ever moved in that air.

I lie still while you move above me               
                                                                             but I go lots of places.
        I’m driving faster and faster.
                                                                         I don’t know where we're going,
                                                                                                                        but it can’t be good.
                                                                            It can’t be anywhere with a pool or clean sheets.
Crawl into the lowboy under the bar, there’s a door at the back
        behind the door, there’s a hallway        filled with red light.
                                                                Behind that hallway there's a rain storm               on a sea.
                                                                                We lie sometimes. Sometimes lying is better.
They say that sleep breeds monsters.
I loved a father.          Love a monster.
        Supposedly there are no lies
in dreams.                                       You're everyone, supposedly, in dreams.
Go lots of places.            Mostly
visit houses where I've never been again.
                                                                                        I’ll leave the porch light on for you.
                        Seeing a cigarette move back in forth in the dark—always did love that,
no matter who it was.      

                                                                         I'd like to forget who you are.
        Mostly, I don’t remember my dreams, except snow or TV static,
                                                                        brigades of paper cranes        flying off edges
I almost wish I’d dream about that girl
        making herself glow once more
just to see a face that's familiar