three recent dreams, transcribed. this is why i drink at night, to deal with the dread of a theater with no exits…
my beautiful boy, my son. you are running a car back and forth on the carpet, like you’re scratching on turntables…like you’re erasing a chalkboard…like you’re god wiping a cloudy smudge off the face of the earth to look closer at his work. i see movement in the dark corner of the living room–a darting, a scuttling. i realize it’s a rat and it’s coming for you. i try to get to you, but i’m wearing cement overshoes. my body is a rube goldberg machine complicating the simple act of walking. the rat sinks his teeth in, biting the meat of your thigh. you curl up in pain like a pill bug. you are tender as veal in its mouth…it bites you over and over and over in a frenzy…the rat is dressed in red finery. your blood, matting its fur. clumsy with panic, i frantically try to get to you and pull the rat off. but every time i reach for the rat, it disappears…only to reappear elsewhere on your tiny body to bite you again….that filthy animal, elusive as unrealized dreams. and just as vicious. at the end of the attack, i am painfully aware of my failure, my inability to save you.
the house i’m inside of is dark and i am calling for both of my children. at first, i am unsure of my coordinates, of the structure i’m in…but i find i can navigate it from a memory i was unaware i even had. this. i know this is the counter top by the porcelain sink. i can’t see the rust in the dark, but i know it rings around the drain like a solar flare in the bottom of the sink. i know this is where the cupboard is that holds the white & blue corelle plates, the cups that match…those hardy plates we couldn’t break. i have come to realize i’m in the farmhouse i grew up in. my fingertips trailing on counter tops, velvet with dust…tracing the wainscoting,caressing the door frames that i already know so well. the whole time, i’m calling for them. bridget. rowan. i hear them crying, but the sound keeps moving….bouncing away from me. like a shout in a canyon. i return to the kitchen and to the cabinet under the sink and find a flashlight, my father’s. it doesn’t turn on till i slap it on my palm like a bat…when the flashlight flicks on, i see your silhouette just briefly-before the flashlight dies again. you are moving fast, looking for my children. you like them at that age. they are the age i was when you used to rape me. the rest of the dream i spend in abject jelly-kneed terror, unsure who i will find first & what will happen when i do. i am much too old for you to want me now, but we are on a farm–and we all know what happens to the animals that no longer serve a purpose.
he is on top of me, holding me down on his bed. i am 6, maybe 7. he grabs my chin and wrenches my neck to the right so that i can see my sisters there, standing off to the side. they are silent, colorless, faces blurred…like 2 little corn husk dolls. he tells me i can choose one to take my place, to make all this stop. but i can’t. he hits me hard across the face and tells me again to choose. i shake my head. angrily, he asks me why i won’t just choose one. through puffy lips i tell him, because it is already too late for me.