Friday, April 03, 2009

Dream Poem "Backwards"

This poem is from a dream I had last week. I had considered making a poem of it and didn't attempt it because it seemed too difficult, but it continued to worry me, so I attempted it and here it is (danger, upsetting images!):


Round, puckered and striated like a nipple, the fossil

hides among rocks on the mountain top. I stroke it,

feeling the bumps and indentations in grey rock.

Limestone, perhaps. Below, sky stretches, endless,

fading toward white. It shimmers like the sea. I call you

to see this ancient stone creature, knowing

how you like breasts, the soft roundness of them,

the responsiveness of nipples. Not rock ones,

of course, but still, "come check it out."

But you frown and step back, refuse to touch it,

and when I look back, I see, not a fossil,

but a dead girl, naked, lying deep in the rocks,

disintegrating. An arm here, a leg there,

features half rotted from her skull, the nipple

just showing in shadow on the twisted torso

deep between the summit's rocks.

Boulders shift and ocean now surrounds us.

We're on a breakwater, but no waves strike

the rocks. The water is still, calm and blue as a summer sky.

We stare at the dead girl. She's become intact and fully clad,

her clothes pressed and clean. Her cheeks blush

with color, brightening. She lies on top of the rocks,

no longer lost between them, and I'd swear I see her

breathing. She's flung across a slanted rock

as if dropped there by great bird, head downward, legs up,

long brown hair draped down the rock toward the water,

facing the endless blue above. We're on an island,

a shrinking island, no land in sight, only the glassy water,

the unmarred sky. I'm surprised when I realize

she looks a lot like me, at maybe nineteen.

Her eyelids flutter, and I awaken, in another century,

in a distant place, alive, and much much older. Tears

dribble down my cheeks.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

090403-0930-2a, 090402-1757-1c, 090402, 1st 4:15 PM; from a dream last week

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