Thursday, May 31, 2007

Madame Curie and Terri Schiavo Meet Jack Kevorkian

Madame Curie and Terri Schiavo Meet Jack Kevorkian

In my dream of Terri Schiavo, a redneck

walks through her room with a rifle and hunting dogs.

A small brown bird flutters in the grass. Its heart

falls out in my hand. But no, it's the telephone,

spewing words. Brain tumor. The bird lifts

from the grass—brain tumor—and flying low, disappears

into an ocean of grass. One little brown bird.

The hunter shoots anything that moves, but Terri Schiavo

doesn't move. The grass doesn't move

around her. I search the swamp and hemlocks for a stump

or log, a place to sit.

Once, Dante called to read me a poem.

In my dream of Terri Schiavo, the sun hangs orange

in the cage of her ribs and sings like Maya Angelou.

I was on my way out the door. Are you sitting down?

Dante asked. I sat. I sat for seven hours, his words echoing

in my head. I am Beatrice he said. I am Narcissus and you my pool,

my mirror. I am Dante, he said, and you

are the seven layers of hell. Before that,

he asked if I was sitting down.

No one asked me if I was sitting

when they said, brain tumor.

A woodpecker hammers a tree, drums

and drums. They let me stand, staring,

while they said, brain tumor.

Small, they said, and not malignant. Like my mother’s,

the same tumor

that took her memory, maybe her life.

In my dream of Terri Schiavo, bees have made

honey in her skull. Loud in the swamp around me,

peepers sing. A woodpecker hammers. Her brain is honeycomb,

honey seeps onto her tongue. In all that darkness

something sweet. The memory

of something sweet. Hazy in the hemlocks, the sun sinks.

The memory of flight. I think about morphine,

about making a will. About surgery and radiation.

Around me, the woods darken. Geese fly over. Or the memory

of nothing at all. No memory. In my dream of Terri Schiavo, her eyes

flicker and open. In those blank pools, she sees the sun

sizzling into the ocean. A geyser of steam erupts

in the newborn darkness. Around me, trees are dreaming

themselves a forest. There's a hole in their dream where I sit.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

070530b, 060401a, 060330a; sent to Turtle Ink Press 5/30/2007

Patty Hearst Dreams of Persephone Lost On Cadillac Mountain

Patty Hearst Dreams of Persephone Lost On Cadillac Mountain

A highway runs through your dream. Big semis, Harleys

rumble. Hell's Angel Harleys, and a little platoon

of matching yellow cars. They flit through the semis,

a flock of goldfinches, a school of fish.

You spot a deer standing at the edge

of the road and know it is about to die. It will be thrown

over the hood of a red car that will careen into the side

of an SUV and they will roll into the ditch at your feet.

Crumpled. You want to wave your arms to head off the deer,

but your arms are timbers from the mast of a ship.

The ship founders on rocks. Fog. You know now

you're dreaming because you wouldn't mix metaphors

awake. You're trapped in the dream, surrounded by Harleys

revving their engines, skulls grinning.

Soon, you will wake to bodyguards peeling redfruit

on the rocky coast or fall and fall through green water, tangled

in the limbs of drowned deer. Or throw a leg

over that Harley slowing to offer you a ride.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

From a MNP prompt by Pat Lawler, sent to Turtle Ink Press, 070531, 060329b, 060328b