In the muscle of the dream, I was in my bedroom in a storm. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to hold my bed sheets so I would not be flung away. My mother was there. I called to her, and we clung to each other, weighing each other down to the floor by my dresser.
Then I was outside, and the ground was flooded. Water was pushing me around. But there was something good about it--something like being on the edge. You wrote me a letter, and I was reading it. It said, "Family, we need it, all of us." The sun was setting behind those words, and I could see the outline of trees against the strata of hues.
I tried writing you back. I used italics and lower case letters, "dear tanner," I wrote. But then the words sloshed away, and for a second I thought of a message in a bottle. I imagined, with confidence, that no matter what, you would find it, somehow.
I'm walking down Schultz Road in the dark. I've lost my glasses. I see nothing, and so I fall down. I barely miss getting hit by cars. I'm looking for someone, her, and I think I will find her on the other side of the next railroad bridge, if only I can make it that far.
I'm in high school. A girl I know commits mass murder while I cower in a locker room bathroom stall. I tell no one. I am seized by profound guilt. I hide out in an upstairs apartment with a bed on the floor, clothes strewn all around.
I am walking through a mall in Ireland. It's warm and alight with Christmas. There are cookies, pies, cakes. "I don't have much to feed people," an old woman at one of the stores tells me. I laugh. She's never been to America.
A fleet of planes cuts the night sky. They form a flock of lights just above the high, shifting clouds. We run down the driveway chasing them as though they are something that could be caught. Then it is there suddenly, low like a floating jewel: the rocket ship. I scream at you not to get so close, but you run toward it anyway in your haphazard child way. In a horrid flash, the engines light, sending scorch behind them. The rocket rushes forward, higher, until it stops, and then begins plummeting to earth. It crashes into the house and yard below--our house, our yard--which are sent to flame.
Then it is midday, as though someone has turned on stage lights. I scream, I scream: "Mom! Mom!" But there is nothing save brambles and the field behind our house and my black horse, which is dying. I am running toward the neighbor's when finally I hear you again, my sister, so small a voice. But it is not you I see. It is my father who runs toward me, his hands blackened, his face 20 years younger than it is in truth. "Baby!" he screams. "Baby!" And in a rush, I'm in his arms the way I have been so many times before: grateful, safe.