A Sickbed Window

By Peter Halstead

People only discover in [Nature] what they bring to her. She has no suggestions of her own.
—Oscar Wilde

Not that I'm exactly sick:
My imagination's parlor trick
Is lying lazily in bed
Planning expeditions in my head,
Sending a few made-up minions
To do my bidding in the pinions—
Here a trekker on the hill,
Poignant from the windowsill,
Ambling with skis and poles
Up a meadow's dips and knolls—
My double, who indemnifies
The blinding fields, the blackened skies,
Projecting shadows of myself wide-eyed
To feel the fields personified,
And in the rolling afternoon,
The hallucinated tactile moon;
But visions that my dreams illumine
Grow angular now, inhuman—
The fading light is disconnected
From sights so easily confected,
The outside world blithely screened
By pretending to be quarantined—
All its triumphs just implied
As long as I stay safe inside.

November 15th, 1998