I read this book explaining the machineries
of sorrow, list the tools I lack.
Earlier my wife poked and pinched the spots
on my back. Monkey love. Now she’s sleeping
without me. I still feel her nail marks
in flesh I cannot see. I can see,
out the kitchen window, lamplight
from the house next door, a neighbor
I barely know. By the time I get up
to take a closer look, his house is dark,
each window x’ed out. My wife tosses
in bed dreaming of Wuji Gong,
how her medicines of trust will save me.
Or she dreams of the guy at her work
with wild and young hair. He gives her a ride
when the van is in the shop for new brakes.
She wears an anklet and hopes he notices.
He sneaks his hand up her dress while they wait
for the light to turn green. They are kids playing
Red Rover, Red Rover let lovers come
over. I’m the gravel in the playground
dirt that skins her knee. I want to kiss it,
to staunch the flow. But this is her dream.
I have no arms or legs. I’m stuck
in this smooth machinery of sorrow.
Author’s Comment: I have always resisted writing dream poems, but when the dream belongs to someone else, I figure it is ok
Bio: Jim Zola lives in Greensboro NC and heads children’s services at a public library. His new book of poetry, What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press) is available through Amazon or from the author.
Sooner or later a dream poem gets us all—and this is a really good one!
Phebe is right. The weird hopelessness of this one is wonderfully pictured.