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Francisco Goya y Lucientes, I dedicate this paper swallow to you and fly it from the balcony of San Antonio de la Florida past the empty chapels of the Four Doctors of the Church. My praying hands are fish fins again, one eye a lump of tar, the other hard blood, my flapping lids sewed down to my cheekbones. Time, the invisible snake, keeps its head and fangs deep in the vagina of space. Reason blinded me, banished me. I fight the liar in me, selective desire, my calling nightmares ‘dreamless sleep.’ Blind, coño, I made a musical watch, the image of Don Quixote points the hours, Sancho the minute hand. I hear the right time when I listen to my watch play church bells. Mystery this, mystery that. I have another watch—wolves howling and dogs barking. Now the invisible snake swims in the Ebro. I look out of my window to see time as if it were not in my mouth and all my other two-timing orifices. Don Francisco, I swear at the feet of the dead who maim me and the living who heal me that the least sound, a page turning, whips me. I owe my blindness, this paper swallow, to you, because I lived most of my life, a marrano, in your deaf house. I pull open one of my eyes like the jaws of a beast.
Stanley Moss was born in Woodhaven, New York, in 1925 and studied at Trinity College and Yale University. In 1969, he published his first poetry collection, The Wrong Angel (Anvil Poetry Press). Eight years later, he founded the nonprofit poetry publisher The Sheep Meadow Press. According to John Ashbery, “Stanley Moss is American poetry’s best-kept secret, better known as the innovative publisher of other poets than for his own highly charged, stingingly beautiful lyrics.”