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William Heyen – Ⅰ






A child dies.  The child’s father

hires an old man to say prayers

over the body before burial.


The father falls asleep.  He dreams

his child tugs at his sleeve,

says, “Father, I’m burning,


“can’t you see I’m burning?”

The father awakens to find

the old man asleep, & a candle


searing the arm of his child….

We find this dream in Freud,

decades before the Holocaust….


We are the one fallen asleep while praying.

We enter the father.  We suffer him

suffering his child’s cry,


“Father, I’m burning, can’t you see

I’m burning?”  He awakens

to find us asleep & a candle


sputtering in the arm of his dead child.

We try to extinguish it—

no use.  We cover the candle


with sackcloth, but the candle burns.

This, now, is our tableau,

sleepers who cannot awaken….


The only movement now is candleflame

under our closed lids.

We are the wick, her corpse our wax.