Robert Eastwood, “Dive”

Robert Eastwood’s work appeared most recently in 3Elements Review, West Texas Literary Review, Up The Staircase Quarterly, and Poet Lore. His first book, Snare, was published by Broadstone Books (2016). His second book, Romer, was published by Etruscan Press (2018).

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It occurs early, when I can distinguish thought from dream.
Bedtime murk. My eyes alert behind closed lids.
My thought is to dive deep into sleep, my arms stretched out
to pull me down, away from light.

Into darkness I go, toward center.
Density sheathes me like a glove––a background of blue
becomes ebony,
where creatures, natural yet strange, exist:

the chambered nautilus of my heart, thumping
in its separate autonomy;
the fangtooth of my fears; the anglerfish of hopes,
which dangles siren-bait for me to reach.
The snipe eel, whose anus is in its throat,
festoons my lurid nightmares.
I don’t expect this suspension of sparks about me––
a token, perhaps, that I haven’t ceased to be.

Nor how simple, to tumble into myself, vague light
ceding to mystery.
First, I reach a midnight zone, then the abyss, black gate
of regret, into an ever-deepening trench.

Yet there’s warmth. My fingers thread something like water.
I search for a hint of color.
Time is a current, flowing between now & then.
I visualize rather than see. A thrash past my skin lets me know
I am sheer chance,
swimming in a dream labeled time, oblivious,
even of depths below––or what to call them…
(the within?), a final simplicity, & sleep.





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