“He walked in and slid the photograph across my desk.”
He walked in and slid the photograph
across her desk
She touched it, picked it up, pressed
it to her chest, then turned and tacked it
to the wall. Her room
is paneled with dreams, not hers, someone else’s,
maybe yours, maybe mine, the thick nightmares
rolling the dice for heart thump and heavy sweat.
The dreams you don’t tell your wife, your husband
in the morning shower, you shake them
out of your head, and she stoops low, plucks them
from the wet tile, tacks them up
with staples, watches how they wave when the wind
sings through her windows.
Her head, strangely exotic,
the nose slightly upturned
imparting immediate distrust with strangers—
you know the nose can do such things.
People are wary, their insides purl
with unease, like the dream she watches on her wall,
a boy’s dream of a dog dying in the gutter,
blood jellying, and already buzzing
with first flies
he jabs it with a pipe while
a group of girls creep up, cover their mouths
walk away without sound.
The street reeks of stale beer, urine, the gaminess
of decaying flesh, but the boy doesn’t notice —
he kneels over the inept creature,
and takes a picture. There is
a semblance of awe shadowing his features
a contusion of indignation coloring his face.
Her knees are bent
under the sheets forming a parabola of cotton.
Wringing the sheet in her hands, she wonders about us
the lost, the drunks and perverts, the ones
with scars on our arms and sad songs
we refuse to write down.