I Know

(After the image “Floating” by Betsy Mars)

The sleeping woman,
posed in her sun dress,
barefoot, arms tucked
into chest, legs drawn up,
exudes peacefulness.
But as my gaze drops
upon her, I perceive the abyss
over which she floats,
defying the gravity
of infinite depth.
Yes, she sleeps. To awaken
would begin the descent
into the yawning well of despair
hollowed bullet by bullet
and illuminated
with the souls of the dead.
I know her dreams of strolling
in fenced, manicured lawns
that make sense, toes curling
in refreshing suburban sod.
I know her longing for this
and so much more: kisses
of a lover, pleasant children
to carry on family legacies.
I know she barely senses
my presence, the toe of a
sneaker scarcely visible
at the edge of pain’s
absolute darkness.
I know because my gaze
drops from what-could-be
upon myself as-I-am.
As we are.

©2019 Kenneth W. Arthur