Posts Tagged ‘dreams vs. reality’

with gratitude to Christie and Dave for their generous hearts and abundant backyard

The thickets are always thicker than I think,

climbing the branches of nearby trees and snaking

through the grass. And red berries are always greener

than I wish, full of pucker and startling bite.

But the blackest of berries, the duller ones, bulbous,

and days past their shine, they are sweeter than I dream.

Sometimes I imagine the way a thing will be—

invent it as something grander than itself.

But the blackberry, ripened in its woodland bramble,

stains the fingers and sings on the tongue

with all the sweetness late summer can gather

and spends all its pleasure at once. Sometimes

there is no better fantasy than the thing itself—

the thorns an integral part of the story. Sometimes

I wish that the stain would never leave.

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I’m eating bread with Meredith out on
her porch, surrounded by the falling leaves,
when she tells me her mother can’t discern

what’s real and what is dream—she’ll wake and scraps
of REM sift into gaps between the day’s
routine. Today she says, “I’m in New York,”

and yesterday she said, “My father came
to visit. Everybody loves him here,
all my friends and all the nurses. Oh!

And he brought two enormous bags with him.”
She giggles to remember it. Sometimes
she says she’s gone out with old friends—“The food

was great, but I’m not going there again.”
Or maybe she has dreamt that Meredith
is hurt and needs her help. She’ll run into

the dark of four a.m. and call out for
her girl. And what is real? And what is dream?
And what is true between the two? Today

I read about a man who dreamt that he
was looking for an answer when a phone
kept ringing, ringing, ringing. He ignored

the phone and focused on the question. But
on the thirtieth ring he picked up the receiver—
the answer came to him across the phone.

What he had thought was a distraction was,
in fact, the point. I take another bite
of bread as Meredith tells me about

a class she took in how to listen to
her mother now. “I’m not supposed to argue,
not supposed to say she’s wrong. I go

along with everything she says.” I think
how strange to let go of reality
to meet her mother where she is, though it’s

not strange at all. What is the point? To meet
her mother where she is. To follow her
between the worlds. The wind blows harder now

and all around the picnic table, gold
and brown are dancing, spinning. I recall
how just this morning I was dreaming that

I, too, was spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning.

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