He turns fitfully
In that fragile space
Between sleep and waking
Where everything is real
And nothing at all is real

It’s been years now
But the war keeps going
On and on in his mind
Like rounds of phosphorus
Flaming through the dark

I touch his shoulder lightly
Go back to sleep, I say

He says that God died
In a gun battle in Sinai
Now he searches
The landscape of my body
This is where God is, he says
As he traces the shallow cleft
Between my breasts

It’s just one more illusion
Like a lake of clear blue water
Rising from shiftless sand dunes
Light plays tricks with your mind

He never had a plan
One thing led to another
That’s just how things are
You make tradeoffs
You compromise
Before you know it
Everything has changed

When the war ended
He hardly recognized
Who he’d become
He looked in the mirror
To find a different man
Staring back at him

Night shadows
Pull him down
Into the undertow
Memories resurface
In liminal space

A girl of five
Playing in the garden
Cut down
In a rain of bullets
A child held gently
In her mother’s arms
Lying in the dirt
Perfectly still
As if in sleep

He had always known
But never admitted
Even to himself
What could not be said
If it could not be said
It could not have happened
So it never happened
Except that it happened

In the early hours
In the space
Between sleep and waking
Truth emerges
Like a thin blade of grass
Pushing through stone

Even in dreams
We are divided
From ourselves

Even in love
We lie
To each other

Even when alone
We lie
To ourselves

Only when we hold truth dear
Can we hold each other close

Lynne Lopez-Salzedo is a British writer and activist living in New York. She has exhibited her art in London and New York, and written art criticism and political commentary for British and American magazines. She can be reached at Read other articles by Lynne.