Sandra’s Advice

Dreams don’t belong in stories, she says.
They’re just haphazard clippings,
Leaves in a teacup.

I dream of floating off a bridge
To the brackish Cuyahoga,
arching on a gentle breeze, yet

It’s unclear if this is an accident.
There are cars involved, true, and passersby,
Concerned and curious: my first love,
The old, homeless woman,
And other stock figures

That arrive to offer me bread
Or their binding history
Or reason to fear.

Sometimes there is concern over this mishap,
Or event, or disaster,
Boaters hovering their crafts below, a crowd.
Yet I savor the danger of floating down,
The gentle dark arc of pleasure.

My first love will soak me to the bone,
I will writhe the wet, regretful dream,
I will become the homeless woman
Who offers me bread because
She has enough.

Sandra asks, Where is the tension in the story?
Where is the desire that drives
The characters, the denouement,
The mishap, or event, or disaster,
Where they resolve into who they really are,
Only different?

I am the creature caught in the wire cage
By the boy caught in Aristotelian dreaming,
Eying carefully this odd specimen he feeds
Pellets, kale, a science diet,
A water tube. I am

The curious creature who keeps breaking free,
Drawn to the stream below,

Only to fail on the dank steps down
Weaken on the cement stairs,
Lapsed lungs, fluttering heart.

But I am the studious boy too.

Tell me Sandra, I want to say,
Isn’t loss the real denouement,
Without tension, without tense?

Isn’t death the end of every story
To which we flow as rivers do?
Aren’t we actually immersed and played
Up and down, and finally splayed,
As accidental as
Leaves in a teacup?

Elizabeth Hayes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: