Nightmare

Nightmare

Nightmare 1920 1280 Jane Rosenberg LaForge

I’ve had bad dreams too, you know.
I can neither read nor relevé
while on stage. I cannot figure out
how to use the phone. The supplies
I need are terminally out of stock,
the baby jaguar I feed at my breast
wants more than I can give, but I cannot
give her up. My sister has survived
her illness past the crucial point
of the summer when she should
choose her school curriculum, yet
there is no academy that will take her
for the fall. Everyone wants to be
young forever but no one wants to know
what it will cost. During story time
at Disneyland, my sister sat
crisscross-applesauce in her running
shorts that were too small. She was
the same height as the rest of
the children, but of a more substantive
bulk; her arms and legs practically
voluptuous compared to what the disease
that had forecasted for their forms,
unspooling into hideous muscle.
My mother dreamt of living above a
candy store until she considered
the possibility of vermin, how they
are attracted to restaurants;
how hard suckers and lip-smackers
tug at the skin beneath the cuticles.
Like glass forced out of its place
within the window sill, or the surgery
that killed her because the doctors
didn’t account for the sleep that could
no longer contain her dreams, past
the insomnia, and the television
nattering on, always in the background.

Header photograph © J. Bish.

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