• Mike Horan

End Dream

I lay in the grip of a dream,

I am walking

on the road that ran in front of the house I grew up in.

Not the way it looks today

paved and landscaped to within an inch of its life,


The way it looked when I was a kid.

Brown and bumpy and gravelly,

treacherous in the winter

with its sharp, sudden turns and steep hills

and ice.

In the other seasons it was glorious

especially summer.

It's summer now and

I'm walking

shirtless and sweating.

It is hot, humid like it is, summer in

Tennessee. I'm kicking at the rocks sending up

puffs of dust into the air that

swirl, before finally coming to rest on my skin

spelling out in hieroglyphics

the name that only I call myself.

Honeysuckle bushes line both sides of the road.

A bat darts from them,

a wing brushing my face like spider web. A veil is lifted and

I see as I crest the hill


by the big creek that cuts through our farm

like a wound

filled with crawdaddy's the size of small lobsters

and the temper of an Old Testament prophet.

I move among the blackberry bushes

deftly avoiding thorns long as a

sharks tooth glistening, I imagine,

with a poison that paralyzes and reveals

the bad that lies at the heart of us all.

I pluck berries, one by one,

two in the basket,

one in the mouth.

"I remember this day",

my road self thinks.

A minor memory, really,

over the course of a lifetime of memories.

I could feel the explosion

of each berry in my mouth

and thinking that I had never tasted something so good

and never would again. My life

a whole series of miniscule memories that make up

me. I wake up in the part that appears at the end of every dream I have

these days: I am walking away from my viewpoint.

Loaded down with all the detritus of my life,

a gross, overweight figure, my

insecurities disguised as angry, hissing cats,

confidences posing as rotten fruit.

With every step they peel away

flake away

like fall leaves are stripped from a tree in a sudden squall

until I am lean & tight

walking with that lethal step I had when I was young

and too stupid to know that this,too,ends.

Thinner, thinner with each step

until I am just a black line in the distance

before that too blinks out.



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