A Trip Like I Need

Beach season is here, and I haven’t been in the water once yet. My mind thinks that’s a problem.

 

I know I’m not supposed to park

On the beach, but I do, the only road

I could find leading straight to grass

At the edge of sand. My friend is there,

The one I don’t know well but am getting to

Better, already in her bathing suit, discussing

Cards with the other swimmers, because

Everything comes back to work these days.

When we get in, the water glossy and cool,

The sunfish swim for us like piranhas.

But in the shade of the far trees we can lounge

Untouched by fin, and look over the fish and shore

As if they don’t exist.

Short and Sweet

I haven’t been recalling my dreams much lately, a trick of the heat or of waking up too late in the morning. But this one hit me just before I woke up, so it was still fresh.

 

He’s eager, she can

See in the way he smiles,

The quick snatching of his hands

At her hips. But before they kiss,

She says, “You won’t count.”

I Didn’t Fight the Law, but it Won Anyway

Apparently deep down, despite knowing a few cops, I do not trust them any more than anyone else.

 

We walk through gray halls,

Damp and hard stone,

Until we come to the cell.

Already she looks affronted by the size,

A space no wider than her arms’ length,

Rectangular enough to fit a bed,

And not much else.

Confined.

They ask me, the men, what she’ll need,

If there’s anything I can think of.

I’m the one outside, so I can make decisions

For her. She gives me a manic look, that

Angry fearful pleading, and makes suggestions

As if they should have been, easily,

The first things out of my mouth.

Nothing comes out of my mouth.

Because I can’t think except to think

I’ve put my girlfriend in prison.

And what she did wasn’t enough to warrant it,

But I knew the cops would do it anyway,

If I called them to help us. And now,

Even if it’s only for a month, only a day,

This will always be between us.

The next day, at work, I’m with one of the men.

It’ll be all right, he says, and I break

Everything, stones and beads and glass

Shattering apart in my hands

Before they hit the ground.

Break

It’s depression season in my life, so this kind of dream doesn’t particularly come as a surprise.

 

My friend breaks down

And I

Know something about breaking, too.

Between aisles in a grocery store,

She always said, was the best place

To hide, so I follow her to the soap section,

The calming scents and the cool linoleum

Of the row just next to hers,

Where we both can cry just that little

Necessary bit.

I play a recording on my phone,

Myself talking through the depression

We’re both feeling, try to work it out but

It sounds from my mouth, as if

A tiny mic were placed right before my nose.

I have to close my lips over with my fingers,

Like rolling the windows up in a car

With the radio on, to not scare passersby.

Recurrence

I haven’t been remembering my dreams much lately, stress or otherwise. But then here comes this one, I guess because official graduation is coming up soon.

 

The director of my old

Writing program lives

In the apartment I used to own

When I studied there.

I walk the kitchen and

The halls, the chairs and furniture all

Exactly where I

Had it, back then,

Down to the curve of the seating

Around the table.

I tell her,

It’s amazing how a space speaks

The same to

Different people.

Avoidance

Hide and seek is always better in dreams than it is in real life, even when you suck at it.

 

We play a game of hide and seek

That somehow becomes a bet, my girlfriend and I

Against my friend and her boy, a whim

Turned serious. They circle outside

While we stay in the same place, crouched to the ground

And hoping they won’t come from the other side,

Where we’re plainly seen. We take no risks,

So it’s no surprise when we’re caught.