Author's Note: Two poems about dreams, which are often, themselves, unexpected. Even dreams we're not proud of--angry, disturbing, harsh dreams, dreams that cast us in an unfortunate light--sometimes turn into poems. By the way, 'yoga nidra' is the kind of meditation that takes place between wake and sleep. It's the only way I ever travel!
The Dream of the Baby
In my dream, I bring you the baby. Mind you, this is a dream, and there is no baby, despite all the rooms we’ve prepared and the notions we’ve acquired to fill them. The dream itself is silly, I remind myself sleeping, the way these things happen in dreams. There is no baby, and I would wake but for the shadows of babies lost or forgotten that have always lived in our dreams, and made us ill with rumors of their endless shitting and pissing and ruining our sleep with their carrying on long into the night. I hand you the baby in my dream, though you don’t know what to do with this baby, or even what babies are for. I’m tickled at your discomfort, your absence of joy, your hollow kitchy-koo for the baby who doesn’t exist, and your perpetual disapproval of the one who handed you this gift you never asked for or required, even in our most vivid dream of our self. In my most vivid dream, I hand you the baby and I say, Ha!
for my daughter Most nights we descend to a meadow but tonight she forgets I’m afraid of heights and the holes a ladder makes in air and I look down and fear I’ll fall through to the dizzying ground so I dare not move up and into the ether. But each step is a color, she insists, and sounds so sure I want to believe though both color-blind and fearful, I reach for some insight, but find only lack of will, when I rise against both my terror, and my better judgment. Aliyah, I recall, is the name of the voice I hear in my sleep, and she means to get up, same as her name, though sideways and spinning is the way she travels early mornings, howsoever much I remind her, and with great portent, that up and awake are not one and the same. She hears me clear but stays locked in that space she’s carved between wake and sleep, entwined in the covers that might even catch her if she happens to fall, meantime thinking who dares allege this is not the way to live? Once out of bed she says to me, You don’t know shit. And, as she peeks over my shoulder where I’m writing about our journey, You don’t even know what a poem is— And this is the proof, she dutifully submits.
Originally published in Red Wolf Journal
©2022 Alan Walowitz
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