August again. Everything stands still. I say the air

is sagging with moisture & my sister jokes

that most people would just say it’s about to rain.

I thought writing down all my plans for the year

would be enough. I dreamed I was a best-selling poet

& people were waiting in a long line

outside Barnes & Noble for my book signing.

In one man’s copy I wrote I want to be carried away

in the ocean of a beautiful poem, to be lapped up

& wrapped in the arms of a gentle & terrible sea.

I spin the globe on my nightstand—

all that merciless ocean. One August, I was pummeled

by a wave, unable to decide quickly enough

whether to jump over or dive through.

It spun me round & round, everything swirling

with vacant blackness. I hobbled

back to shore shaking, spitting up salt water.

Yes, my world feels small—

especially when I’m faced with, say, the Atlantic.

In my dream, a woman at my book signing

asked me to write a message to her daughter. I wrote

New year, new me. Except it’s August, & I’m exactly the same.

Dream Journal for Insomniacs

I reach into a grab bag and pull out the entire purple night. Oh violet oh violence oh foxglove oh climbing clematis oh sugilite oh toothless sky oh Andromeda. How the taste of pomegranate syrup remains on my tongue.


A man is carrying a yellow guitar from his yellow guitar collection. His wife does not like it when I call him Languid. But that’s his nickname. Languid. I knock on his guitar, but there’s no one home. It sounds like silence swallowing itself.


The grocery store magician picks me up by the back of my pink and white gingham dress and drops me into a top hat. The orange moon sinks beneath the mountains, and sparrows nap on my outstretched hands. My mind jumps between thoughts like it’s skipping rocks on a frozen lake.


I am circling a school hallway at night. All of the exits are barred from the inside with broomsticks. An older woman walking her dog picks up a quarter off the linoleum floor and says, See? It pays to walk. Utility poles cast long-legged shadows across our faces.


There are five shadows on the wall. One of them says his master is the hand of artist Marc Chagall. The shadows are part of a night circus. They are walking a tightrope across my dreams. If they fall, we all die. My wolf hand opens its mouth.