and demands I interpret her dream
or she won’t leave the table.
peer over my shoulder at the dining room mirror,
and search my hands for a sign of a sign.
I haven’t touched the chicken on my plate, even though I’m hungry.“I’m hungry,” I tell her. “So am I,” says she, “but in the dream
I was in the old old well, deeper than the water,
deeper than the roots, playing a mouth harpand spitting snuff juice into a can. Let me tell you,
it ain’t easy to synchronize those two.
But what do I know? At the time, I was covered in mouse feathers.What do you make of that?” She spits in her can like a pro.
I don’t answer because my chicken is playing the mouth harp.
Maybe the ceiling is growing closer.
“In my dream,” she says, “I’m not a person.
I’m sunlight in a dress hanging on a backyard line.”
But she doesn’t say this, it’s her teeth talking,
rattling on the saucer where they rest.
They smile like the dickens and shine like gold.
“It means,” I say, reaching for the potatoes,
“that life is short and full of sadness.”
“No it doesn’t,” she replies, and pours her glass of wine
straight onto the floor like a bad-tempered child.
“Go home,” I cry, and fling a roll at her gray head.
She laughs, or her teeth do, and I realize
she will never leave my table.
I pour her another glass of wine,
directly onto the floor to save time,
and tell the chicken to shut up.
“I dreamed,” I say, “of waking.”