here’s a story about the woman i love: in my sleep,
we wander the museum, & she points out all the animals.
statues & paintings & engraved tea cups,
with swallows building a nest. i do not tell her
that in rome, swallows symbolized the souls of dead children,
mothers in sorrow. it is a heaviness i cannot bear
to put down. instead, i inform her that most male birds
have tiny penises, if they have them at all, & she laughs & this
is what i wanted: her arm slipping into mine,
her hat askew as she rests her head on my shoulder,
until we turn the corner into the wing of arms & armor & there,
drinking from cracked burgonet, is a fawn—down on two knees
as if in prayer—until her gasp startles it gone.