I write poems when I sleep. I woke up to words flowing in my dream, but I didn’t write them down in time. They flew away on gossamer wings and then they fell from the sky in cement shoes. Is it worth getting out of bed for this?
My grandpa visits me in my dreams. He talks to me and I know it’s him when I wake. He’s there already. Waiting. My dad is in the in-between, paying for the things no one knew about. I want to tell him to get in line for the wings, it’s never ending, that line. You can choose between feathers and gossamer, both take you where you need to go. Just lose the shoes, dad. Cement. Birds of a feather.
Cotton candy clouds don’t wait for you, but if you get there in time…
I will see you in my dreams.
I’m sensitive, you know. I feel you before I see you. I know you before you know me. I hide and I seek and I know things. They come to me in my dreams. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep. I wake when it gets too real and I try to keep my eyes closed, to keep it going, but then I know it’s not real anymore.
So I open my eyes. And I carry it with me, if I’m lucky. It flowed better in my half-sleep. In my half-sleep, it was beautiful. The words flowed and made sense and painted a better picture than this. But I will keep trying and hope that someday someone will put all the pieces together and then they will know me. And then I will exist not only in my dreams and then I will take off my wet clothes and my cement shoes and I will float.
The things no one knows about keep you in the in-between. Cement flows through your veins. Get in line for the wings, dad. And lose the shoes. Not much you can do about the veins. Get the feathers, they hold more weight. And be sorry. For so much.
But know you are already forgiven.
And I float.
Like the last time I rocked my baby to sleep or carried her to bed, I can’t remember the last time we drove the cars at Scandia. Or the last time I wasn’t angry. Or hurt. Or sad. Only my sunshine memories of you felt happy. The days that the sun shined on us and I still didn’t know all the things. Even now, I don’t know all the things. Only some. And they are enough.
This one is more for me. Just getting it out. Uh, oh. She’s blathering again. Keep scrolling. There should be a warning label. She’s writing in her half-sleep again. It’s not for you.
He said he will send me a butterfly when he gets to where we are all going. But he didn’t say what kind. I wonder if he will send Golden Lemon Pucker Trucky Ducky. Oh, you haven’t read that one yet? That one makes more sense than this one. To you. But not to me. Or will he send the Spanish Luna Moth I have tattooed on my skin? Too rare, I’m sure.
Or is it?
Do you like the stories with the details? They need to be unraveled, you know. It’s all in the details, so
When I was in 1st grade, or maybe it was 2nd, at a school I can’t remember the name of with a teacher whose face I remember because she made me cry and I was scared of her, we made a construction paper snowman. The instructions were to tear up the thick white paper into small pieces and glue them onto the blue background like a mosaic snow man. The torn edges were meant to make it look like snow. I panicked. I can’t do that. I begged to use my scissors, the ones with the rounded tips that only sometimes cut. My tears and chaos convinced her. While everyone else was tearing and glueing without a care in the world, I cut a hundred tiny squares of thick white snowman through my burning eyes fresh from hot flowing freak-out tears. Maybe that was my first panic attack. Irrational.
So my mosaic snowman had sharp edges. My crisp edges somehow protected me. The corners overlapped and stuck out and mine was the only one. I can’t blend in. That feels like panic to me. I had to be different, not because I wanted to be, but because there was no other way for me. 29 mosaic snowmen, with fluffy, billowy, uneven, imperfect, snow-like edges. And only one with crisp, sharp edges and corners that can make you bleed. Always different. Special. Gifted. Burdened.
In the end, she let me do it my way. She probably sensed how important that was. How a single moment in time can haunt your dreams 40-something years later. Maybe she knew that I needed the sharp edges of protection to keep me safe. Maybe she knew she was teaching me a life skill of adaptation and when one way is too hard you should find another way to make it work. To get through it any way you can, even when everyone else does it with their bare hands. It’s ok to use scissors.
Cut. Cut. Cut.
And burn, burn, burn.
And I float.