Our Souls Lie Within These Flowered Bindings

In the dream, we’re riding
a Metro-North train
en route to a bold past
we know we can’t return to.

I read through college journals
looking for clues
like an unskilled detective who fears
what she might want to uncover.

Back then, I was desperate
for a replacement to escape
the sting of a broken
18-year-old heart. I scrawled:

“I want to know,
is it going to hurt?”

Little did I realize how that craving
would morph and consume me, how
the boundary between stage and audience
would dissolve before closed eyes.

In the dream, my phone slips
beneath the seat.
You find a cluster
of them on the dirty train car floor.

None mine. We laugh so hard
we’re sobbing.

We came so close:
The dancing, the long
drawn-out drunken hugs, making faces
at each other in the loud flying saucer

shaped dining hall
perched on a Connecticut hill.

That incident
when you bit me
on the neck. A slap
in the face that never occurred.

We signed up for that intro
to oceanography class together.
We thought the ocean meant
the Jersey Shore:

body surfing, gambling dens,
shoobies and bennies, Cape May
diamonds, beach badges,
Skee-Ball, boardwalk

saloons, meditating
under the stars.

Not upwelling, transform
faults, surges, gyres,
the reproductive habits
of limpets and sea worms,

or the truth
about the Coriolis effect.

In the dream, we’ve left city scenes
behind. In the dream, we know
you are dying. We refuse
to let that knowledge ruin the ride.

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