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Bedroom in Arles
by Michael Dylan Welch

My bedside books are dreams to drink,
paths to lap up, absinthe to imbibe.
I have reading glasses now,
and tall stacks of books seem as rickety as me,
till a new bookcase finds room in the house.
The carpet is more worn from the door to the bed
than ever before, nights of reading
distorting the pillow trapped under my side.
The tiny lamp I use keeps my wife
from waking, and somehow words
show me the road where I will go.

In Arles, the painter's room has no dreams,
no carpet or books, or glasses to speak of
old age. The bed just wide enough
for a single man, its only dreams
may be the colours in paintings
hung carelessly on vivid walls,
yet the window stays closed
to tomorrow.

Even a bullet to the chest
cannot end
such bookless, dreamless sadness.


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