When the Lions Come to My Dreams

I dream about lions, sometimes.  They do not appear as one of a larger roster of predatory characters; I do not see, with equal frequency, emus or sperm whales or ptarmigan.  No, stowed in my basement or roaming my lawn, the golden-maned monarch has thus far proved immutable.  And in the suspension of reality that dream architects have so mastered, I do not doubt the validity of its presence, not in Minnesota, not passing my windows, not padding up my stairway.  Often I descend to the dream state in a moment of irrational but overwhelming urgency to enter the backyard.  You see I must do it, I walk a sequence I did not author.  When I see the lion there, I do not assume it has escaped one captivity or another, or contemplate its origin at all.  In fact, its wild. I know it is.  This here is a destination for him.  The dream self knows too.  A cold, disturbed concession always follows, "it's found me." There is no recourse outside of the lion's decisions.  There will come a chase and a resolution.  There will be no messianic fire arm and more importantly, I find no comfort in the prospect.  Mine is not a novel's narrative, I award him no majesty and his magic eyes tell me no noble secrets.  It is just the animal and me.  Somehow, it does not threaten me with death so much as the permanence of its presence.  When the lions come to my dreams, I am no longer atop a great ladder, I do not look downward at all the land and let my thoughts take me recklessly.  I am aware and wideeyed, lest I linger too long or think to far and my hunter find me.

A Lasting

you are the tree i've watched for years
you do not bend too far
in the wind you only respond
and acknowledge that the wind, too, is good.

The Good We Can Sense

Middle school hung a steel box from the bottom of my sister's chin,
so that she'd feel rejection twist and drift from her bones
every time that motherfucker swings.

The chain is dotted with the fingerprint fog stain
of the men that take these links
and run like dogs the women shrouded in Myst
to the waters where he makes them drink.


we loved to watch her leaving the river
for obvious reasons
for reasons we smile over

and we look at the mountains here, knowing
this is the paradise that doesn't exist

she crests the little bank
blown dry of the drips in a weak breeze
of the wind that draws to her
we watch her stop
and crumple and splash up in the dirt
and shoot roots deeply