300. Dreams

“After that,
I started having dreams.
My life became a dream.
I couldn’t see things
As they were, but
How they’d turn.

“I would be looking
At a tree, in spring, with
Leaves all green and fat.
But there, before my
Eyes, the leaves
Commenced to shake.
They’d shrivel brown.
They’d fall. A green tree–

“In town,
I saw a baby
In his stroller on the street.
His eyes were new
And eager, peaceful-like.
He reached for me.
But when I peered at him,
His face,
It changed.
It blurred: first, there’s
A beard. Then, wrinkles.
He looked worried, more,
And beat-down, and
Confused, his shoulders
Bending, stooped.
And then, there he’d
Be–oh, eighty, ninety–
Like the old folks
Miss Flynn sends me now to see,
Can’t talk to more.
And cry,
And wet the bed.

“I’d stare down
At my arm:
Gray charnel-flesh,
Worm-eaten meat.
Out in the yard, I’d
Glance back at my house.
But it was there,
Then gone–
Just prairie land,
Like used to be.
My chair,
My cups,
My clock that Mama give me!
Turned to air.

“My eyes were sick–
The more the months went by,
The more what my eyes fell on
Fell apart. I tried
With solid things,
To grab them: I would
Sit at breakfast,
Grip the kitchen table. But–
The wood began to
Spin inside itself,
To stretch and groan–
The grain split
Open, stabs of light
Where empty showed.
I tried,
And passed my hand
Clear through the table.
Just slipped through.

“I was woozy all the time,
And squinting hard
To keep my balance, to
Not drop–the ground would
Shift, and roll, and fade….
I’d step, my
Foot pass through the floor.
The walls, dissolving,
Sheer, before
My face.

“Somewhere in there
I got married,
Bo came round and didn’t
Mind I’m damaged goods.
I kept on selling, too,
My makeup orders–
That could get me
Through the day–but
Seasick, queasy,
All the time.
Every mark I made
On paper, even if I
Wrote them slow,
They slid like fish.

“Once I froze:
I floated, through
The roof. And the features
On folks’ faces
Melted, ran. One
Time, as I set my coffee
Down, I watched my
Thumb and fingers
Crawl off from my hand.”

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