They are a rope bridge
between what you know
and what you want to know.
I awoke swaying, legs used to motion,
in the stillness of bed feeling for
sheets, center of gravity.
Oceanarium mid-driveway diversion. Limpids
and anemones clung on rods in tank. Face loosened
I crossed the 500 yards in a couple steps
to the clothesline stand where it was summer rain.
At the stand, I look at it, not my mother,
as she talks I see footprints of dog,
the toes washing back to flush rain.
Nightshift continuity editor’s are lazier
than my parent’s capering dog. Even
as I watched water, my arms felt sun
petted the long red hair along her spine,
noticed her mussed hair tied
with ribbons of burrs, trailed
in the mud dish of her head.
Thumbing and eyebrowing to that,
my mother replied with a shrug, asked
“should maybe get the hose and wash out
the worst of the dirt and that would do?”
I gritted against talk-back and hissed
infernal martyred patience
to my husband to put on the list
that We Would Buy Them
an above ground Pool/ mail it out
That’s what it would take to keep
the wound clean. How could she
think a spray nozzle would suffice
she was missing the cap of skullbone
fumed how they hadn’t even noticed
until I said. Preposterous that they thought
they could do something simple.
People couldn’t maintain that injury. The dog
would have to splash about on her own.
She needed tools for that: a pool.
I had just skipped a stone with the hand feel
of snowball but heat and the look of a ball of clay
and when I threw it, it turned 90 degrees and I heard it
slurp, slurp over the surface of fallen autumn leaves.
“3/4 km toss not bad” I nodded to myself, in that
omniscience we can approach but never touch in dreams
I ambled after it to confirm, saw its wet thrown pottery
beside the last, pre-dream throw, made a snowman of it,
toddled on back and music –
tugged me towards the corporal present
Awake-sense’s approach laughed my eyes open.
How pragmatic the sleep-brain.
How it knew paw prints meant dog but couldn’t seem to grab onto
the right one, as if it “hummed, mmmmmutttt, umm
ummm, dog, no matter, let’s drop in an Irish Setter.”
The prime absurdity of the between dream-wake mind
is that it wasn’t a border collie. Irish setter. Imagine.
Not until tea did the solution strike me:
the pool wouldn’t do at all. What’s more they knew.
My telling them wasn’t something new. Why do they
permit my haughty tone, inflecting as some jutted lip
7-year old. Why do I not assume they have the dignity
of the same powers of observation, same eyes
on the back of my head so mystical when I was small.
It took me three days to grow awareness for the crawling
anemones – my mind had swapped in rambutan and the
real albino anemones substituted for “limpids”. Was I
a caracature or that rude of bearing to my mother.
I realized I still feel guilty for my mother.