I had a little stove and a wick of wakefulness
in my sleep.
In the mornings, I heard the train roar and go up
into the center of things.
I circulated thoughts like,
Crisp, cool lettuce or a starved rabbit: which am I?
I would take long walks and say to no one,
When I was first married …
I saw all of Luis Buñuel’s films inside of a week
and warmed to our comparable debasements.
I wasn’t young, I wasn’t old, I was still nibbling
at what lay before me.
And later, when I didn’t have the energy
to hide myself from the flavors of the changing world,
I planned a few things, too.
Dream of St. Ursula
When I woke up I was in a dream. I was
In my room with the nodding myrtle and carnation
Plants, abiding a vision. All year I had been throwing
Away the daily lunch prepared for me. I was reading
A book about hunting and preparing to love the wilds,
Physical danger. My crown made me feel worldly.
I didn’t yet have grace,
The angel murmurs the word,
Surrender. He holds a quill as if he writes my fate.
My fate! I did not know that God would take
Such inventive pleasure in us, that he would compel
Me into images far beyond my imagination. I was
Reading a book and I was readying to love.
I never dreamt that he would pursue a story’s end
Without undue compassion for its characters.
No cities, no stars.
on your knees
to make new noises
inexpressible cities, those
SANDRA LIM is the author of The Wilderness (W.W. Norton, 2014), selected by Louise Glück for the 2013 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and a previous collection of poetry, Loveliest Grotesque (Kore Press, 2006). A 2015 Pushcart Prize winner, she has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Getty Research Institute. Lim was born in Seoul, Korea and educated at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and lives in Cambridge, MA.