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dreams from 2021
missives from my notes app
“You died just hours ago.
Not suddenly, no. You'd been dying so long
nothing looked like itself:”
- Mary Szybist
The other night, I had a dream where I met you at a coffee shop after the end of the world. I had forgotten my mask and begged a lawyer for an extra mask, apologized for the strange request, gratefully donned the diaper-like covering. A moment later, the mask was gone. We opened the door and saw each other, and it had been years, or perhaps only months. Would you like something to eat, you asked, and I suggested we walk around the forest with our food because it still wasn't safe indoors. Half the trees were fallen or overgrown with roots thicker than most trunks. The sky came through the leaves in slats or not at all. We passed an enormous sycamore and you kissed me suddenly. I felt the grain against my back, the curve of the root we stood on. Even in the dream, what you said was faint. We started walking again. When we parted ways, I waved and did not answer your question.
[ error ]
In this dream, a friend I could not place told me you were coming. We spoke in the middle of a doorway via a screen that hung across my wall. When you appeared, I immediately began crying. The force of my feeling surprised me and I flung myself at you; you held me. I remember you patted my back. You said I know and I’m sorry but at the same time as if you had two voices. Neither voice belonged to you but nothing felt strange. I won’t run, I’ll check-in, you promised. What I wanted was not an apology but acknowledgement of the wound.
[ the number you have dialed is no longer in service ]
Where you used to be was an empty house. I dreamed we locked it up, closed every window, barred the doors. There was a warning sound in the velvet air, no one could go in or out of their homes, and we felt urgent enough to seal off all light. We waited behind the shutters. You had died, something precious had gone, [ ] was losing her mind. When he snuck in through the porch door I screamed, I kept screaming. Do you know what [ ] meant to me, and, how dare you, how dare you. No one understand my wrath. We closed every window again. They came in through the trees. What animals there were warned us of a secret. We tried to escape but what did it matter, you were already gone.
[ you’re breaking up ]
The man who gave us cinnamon was there. The cult father said he’d take us home. We were late, we had to pick the boys up, but they were already with us. I tried to find jackets for everyone out of a closet tinseled with racks of coats but nothing fit anyone, nothing would keep everyone warm. You were almost left behind. When we somehow made it into the car, the map worked. We all faced each other and I felt close to all of you again. I said, where are we going? I woke up.
[ try again later ]
By the time I reached the airport, I was too late. I carried a sketchbook large as my arm and didn’t know how I’d fit it on the plane. You were with me. You asked if I wanted to do this. Suddenly it was night and the plane had gone without us. Moonlight pooled like cheap satin on the empty terminal floors. Were the windows always this tall to watch take-offs? Texts from their mother — we’re boarded, where are you — that had been sent hours ago. In my hurry, I miscounted time. The ticket they had bought, they trip they had planned. Later they said you don’t understand our values. The only way to leave the dream was by walking out of the airport. I kept the sketchbook.
[ sorry, there was a problem ]
You were the dream. I remember asking where did you go. I remember how I needed to be careful.
[ syntax error ]
Here I kissed you never behind the door, here I left the room of a party I never wanted to be part of. Once I walked the length of a bridge but it was only memory. Once I held a sign and could not feel my hands. What is feeling after fact? I decided to envy lemurs. I wished I had stolen an ivory key. In the reel of my life is a blue-gilled sunny and I pick its fins from my palm. My grandmother told me to be careful but I didn’t hold on tight enough. The dream keeps going. We no longer have names.