Day followed day,
and this and that
Seemed to be happening
As always, but through it all
Already loneliness was seeping.
I pour myself another glass of wine, then lounge
on the wicker couch of the sun-porch, my bare feet
propped on an old milking stool, surrounded by texts
on the psychology of dreams. Late this morning
your first wife phoned, from where it is not raining: your
three children huddled around, chirping, while the cat
lapped milk from their cereal bowls. Outside the grey
rain shimmers, chanting the glossary of terms I
have yet to memorize. Thirteen-year-old Laura
eases into the Bentwood across from me, rocks
slowly. Her brothers pirouette onto the porch,
in-school songs. I reward them with cookies, so they
dance away to the kitchen, crooning rain-songs for
each other. Last night the youngest stole two-thirds of
your gin-and-tonic, inquired of your mother:
Barbara, when you get drunk, do things look all different?
Beethoven drifts out from behind the door of the
room she’s sharing with your daughter. Your typewriter
clacks as Laura strokes the cover of one of my
books. Last night I dreamed I was swimming and couldn’t
see land anywhere at all. When her brothers
bounce onto the porch and propose rain-dancing, I
send them to you. Two minutes later, the back door
thuds, and muted squeals float back to us. Your clacking
chorus resumes. I got real tired and called and
called to some man to save me but he was talking
to this mermaid. He didn’t hear me so I guess
I drowned. I present her one of the dream books; she
snuggles with it in a distant room. I wander
the summer cottage, open a second bottle
of wine, memorize your sons in glittering pools.
Last night I, too, dreamt: I was unrolling faded
oriental carpets onto scuffed wood floors. Three
sparrows fluttered down, whispering among themselves.
Their words swelled, joined hands, became the cars of a train
yanking away from an abandoned platform. My
legs lumbered after. The sparrows darted down,
snared the ticket from my extended hand, raced each
other to giggling clouds. The ticket escaped, spun
itself into a whirling dervish, scattering
the clouds and birds. Then I roamed through some crumbling old
house, breaking open all the curtains, unlatching
windows. You followed around behind, closing them.
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