Carve

You have to be careful with cutlery, even in dreams.

 

“Is that what he’s using

For a carving knife?”

I ask, as the boy

Who leads this massive

Tableful of people

Raises what could be

A small sword, wickedly-

Pointed. My companion says yes,

And I draw my eyes away

From the gleaming tip,

Look at the girl beside me, who I know

Will be stabbed in the back

By a carving knife I’d hoped

Would be duller and shorter than that.

I say, “That doesn’t bode well.”

 

 

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Midnight Food

I didn’t go to sleep hungry, but apparently my mind did.

 

Everyone is asleep

At this sleepover, so

When I wake, post-midnight, and crave

Something to eat,

I make my way, alone,

Down side streets lined with

Jasmine and dogwood, until

I reach a small cafe,

Soups and sandwiches served

In brown paper bags, by a friend

Of mine I haven’t seen in a while.

He forgets my name, and doesn’t

Remember that he forgets, mixing me

With someone else he must have known

Before, or after, we were close.

I leave without correcting him,

Climb the hill and think well that’s

Another one gone.

It Floods at Night

I wouldn’t mind if this place were real, though I imagine we’d need to build with a whole new definition of waterproof materials.

 

It’s my shift to watch, so

I stay outside tonight,

Stand on a pillar that soon becomes

The edge of a dock. The streets

Fill slowly, water smooth like ink

And spilled with color

From awnings and lights on every shop

That lines this cobbled street.

The clouds are dark and shifting,

Quiet, and I wait

Until bells ring,

8 a.m.,

And the water slides away

Leaving dry stone, calling

Hundreds of busy shoppers.

Sometimes It’s a Complex

Luckily, I’ve never run into anyone with this one in real life.

 

He’s from the upper side of the tracks, so

None of us are surprised to know that

His mom’s not entirely happy

About him going to college with us.

We are surprised, though,

When she shows up in our tumbledown town,

Makeup caked to make eyes and lips

Sexy. She curls her hands and arms around

My hips and waist and shoulders,

Saying things about the meaning of

Low-brow to his straight-mouthed face.

Drunk Yoga

I don’t think dream me is very good at coming up with business ideas.

 

We bring our mats with us –

Tonight is drunk yoga night

At the local bar, a crowd of us packed

Into a large van

To carpool there together.

They bring out a tray of free beers

As soon as we pull up, not enough

For my coworkers in the back to get one but

That’s fine, there are plenty more

On the way – tall glass tankards, colored

A novelty green, for some reason.

The drinks aren’t terrible, though not good.

And they do get us wobbling

Before we’ve unrolled our mats,

Half of us spread out at odd angles

On the floor, myself and a friend

Sharing the top of a table,

Wavering into a heady

Downward dog.

Plot Devices

Even in dreams, scripts can’t always be winners.

 

It feels like someone hasn’t taken the time

To write our lives well –

We wait in the shop we’ve called our home

For the past few days, hearing rumors

That we’ll leave, that we’ll stay, until

The shopkeep tells me

I’ll be staying with him, alone,

Long enough to get to know each other.

I think to myself, this must be because

We haven’t gotten enough

Backstory from him.

But I like his character, so I don’t

Mind keeping here,

Watching him sort tiger’s eye stones

Into a bowl for customers to browse.

Slayer

Always time for a first, in dreams…Don’t think there’s ever been dragons in my head before.

 

I’ve killed a dragon.

Actually, I’ve killed two, but this one

Feels more real, somehow –

The wounded thing, slashing

Its body against the stone wall, as I ran

A sword through its gold-shining

Scales. The first died nearly

On its own, crashing to its end,

In comparison to this one.

But there isn’t time to mourn it, or to

Come to grips with what I’ve done.

More are coming, and if we want

Any chance at surviving,

We’ll barricade ourselves in this

Church, with the cats,

Each door’s lock turned until

The sanctuary becomes a box,

And the ritual can begin.