The Poet Dreams of Home

The Poet Dreams of Home charcoal drawing
The Poet Dreams of Home short story illustration. Charcoal drawing by author.

The Poet Dreams of Home

In my dreams, I am often flying over the lakes and bayous of the lower Mississippi valley, but one night’s dream really stands out in my mind.

It is a night with a bright moon, and the water is like a mirror of the sky.  Rivers and creeks are like paths through the trees when you can fly. From time to time, bridges and highways lit up with billboards cross the path of the water, but then it goes back to wandering through fields lined with trees and old forests where you can fly ten or twenty feet above the water and still not be above the treetops on either side.

Then the dream changes. I am suddenly in the suburbs of some place like Jackson or Baton Rouge, but it is the darkest night possible, moonless, and that’s a good thing because we are playing hide-n-seek, me and the older kids of the neighborhood.

We hide in the dark treetops in the backyards and stay away from the streetlights along the road out front.  There are giant oaks and magnolias with branches like labyrinths, and it is dark under their leaves.  The other kids can fly as well as I can, and so there are heart-pounding chases like back when I was a kid.  We are laughing and shouting taunts at each other from the dark.

Our shirts are sticking to our backs with sweat, and from playing in sprinklers.  We are barefoot and flying in and out of all the fountains and pools in the backyards.  The chase goes on and on, and there are teams and then a chase game with rules of some kind.

Then this one girl catches me in a tackle and lands on top of me on the ground.  Then I see that it isn’t a teenage girl, but the mother who was picking up her little girl at day care yesterday.  I feel her weight on me getting heavier as her breasts become fuller. We are laughing and I try to throw her off me, but I can’t.  Then she makes it darker and quieter and it is just us, and she is kissing me.