From “A Dream Book”
By David Harsent
Deep reaches of sleep until the unforeseen
moment, like fugue, like petit mal, some kind of sign,
a touch from a joker’s finger, to let him know what’s right,
what’s wrong with the dream-within-a-dream. A sudden, slight
shift in the order of things and all the past undone.
He left what was left of himself in her care that night.
They went to the river and dropped their clothes on the bank.
She struck out. He followed in the long, slow vee of her wake.
She could sound and surface, bringing back with her what
other lovers had dumped: hotel bill, gimcrack ring, a four-square shot
from the photo booth. Later, they dipped their bottles and drank.
She looked at him and laughed. “You think you’re safe? You’re not.”
In this, her fool is deaf and dumb and twirling a pink parasol. In this
he’s doing a chicken dance. He turns away and puckers up for a kiss.
He’s their stalker, familiar, spy, his slippy grin is all
lipstick and green teeth. Words to the wise, or coffin-laugh, or catcall.
In this, he watches from cover, maestro of the deadfall.
He goose-steps them out of the tunnel of love and into the house of glass.