As usual, falling asleep she pictured a hill and upon the hill a house.
She could not anticipate too much, had to let them form in her mind,
and then in her mind walk up the hill, and then open the door.
Sometimes the hill was in Japan, sometimes Latin America,
often Ireland or France. She could tell the country by the coins
in her pocket, though sometimes there were elaborate gardens
suggesting a national character, a preponderance of gardens
leading up to or extending behind the house,
sometimes a fountain beneath which greenish tile glinted with coins
scattered across the bottom, fees for the mind’s
dreaming. Always she forgot she had fallen asleep in America,
far from the village roads lined with bombs, the opening doors
of ruin. She believed inside the heart there was a door
unlocked by beauty. Here were the white gravel gardens
raked daily by monks, here were the ponds of America
stocked with koi that gleam and leap, here was the tea house
shaded by banana and palm, by evergreen and the mind
of winter and plum blossoms falling like silent coins
to carpet a new geography. Maybe like blossoms the coins
grew on trees, maybe the silvers and golds were the only doors
in the world? She had to believe the ideas her mind
delivered at night, when she was asleep in ancestral gardens
scented by lilac and pear, when she was the dark house
herself of ghosts long ago called to America.
Asleep, she never wondered why anyone came to America.
Of course, the streets were paved with gold, and buckets of coins
were rainbow luck, and every family had its house
with curtains and swings and a slot in the door
through which letters and checks were deposited. Even the gardens
were ripe for those who did not mind
too much being given. But it was not only her dreaming mind
that wished to live in the kind of house
she’d always imagined; it was the houses and gardens
themselves insisting they be desired. True, there were coins
jingling in her pockets, enough, but nowhere would she find a door
to such desires, never would the stones leading up to the house
through fragrant gardens transplant her as routinely as her mind
to her mind’s houses, even the musty, foursquare American
houses, common as coins, keys still hung by the door.