A Dream

Ken Ireland

I don’t know if it’s possible

but I’ll continue to dream it,

juggling the fine points when I have to

to lend it a kind of reality.

Some kinds of hope are just virtuous dreaming.

I’m just dreaming back to last night,

glimpsing at men walking down the sidewalk,

wondering what they dream of.

The carpenter hadn’t hammered the last nail—

I heard his banging for the first time in many years

when I thought he too had vanished.

What was it that disappeared before

I noticed something missing?

Was that a dream?

How could I have missed it?

Are we forced to

carve a purpose out of nothing?

Did we dream it like a vision, or did it dream us?

(This is, I guess, a technical question, and no one can be expected

to provide more than a best guess.)

I juggle the timing of the wash cycle

so that I can try to keep a date

with my dreams.

My future doesn’t seem to be pretending to be something, someone—not me.

I didn’t patch it together with

tinsel, latex, fabric, and strut on the

stage when heels weren’t optional.

Yet I’ve hit that same impossible note.

I knew that hope wasn’t dead forever,

even though I tried to murder it.

The carpenter showed me how to fit

a flight of stairs with a return into a tight corner.

Now anyone can climb up under

the rafters and look out from

where the roof opened to the sun.

Dreams are timeless and yet

we imagine we can walk through them,

one step following another, just like in real life.

Today I win the lottery.

Later I hold you in my arms.

Then you disappear, vanishing like that carpenter,

gone, gone—a ghost, or perhaps a dream.

Is it possible to glimpse the sun through you?

(I don’t know and the sun ain't saying.)

But I climbed that flight of stairs one foot after the other.

I can retrace my steps if I must prove it.

I feel so alive—certainly more alive than yesterday.

I glimpsed the sun

through the hole you opened in the roof.


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