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
In the other seasons it was glorious
It's summer now and
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
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.