I have been dreaming, but I cannot remember my dream.
I can explain — I work hard every day and at night
fall into the sleep of a log or stone, silent and still.
In this dream everything is clear — my work, my marriage
and children, my daily greetings to my neighbors,
the feelings I have when told we have successfully
tested another weapon of mass destruction. I set
the alarm and in the morning get up to eat. I am happy
swallowing oatmeal with raisins and walnuts and I am
happy walking out the door to work and I am
happy when the sky darkens and the rain tumbles down.
That’s funny, I think to myself, the way the rain strikes
the ground or my head and it is the same plink, plink,
everywhere it falls, the same plink, plink, plink.
My house is pale blue and on Main Street. At night
the cars race up and down as if they were a storm.
Every night they go faster and their drivers grow younger.
No matter how much cotton I stuff in my ears, the news
of my town comes to me — the man who beat his wife and
molested his daughter, the alcoholic parents and children
and cousins and friends, the plan to cut down one more
tree to make room for a building and build one more road
to escape this town. I have decided to go outside and
sit on the small deck shaped like a piano that I built
myself. I take my old socks and a needle and thread
and begin to sew. The sun shines down on my face and warms
it slightly but at twenty below it is never enough
and I am cold. When the sun sets it will be colder
and too dark for me to go on with my sewing. Then I will
lean back and watch the moon rise. Nodding, I am startled
by the sound of tires screeching on the street. The jolt
makes me jump and I prick my finger with the needle. It
hurts for only a moment and is not deep enough to bleed.
Spring! In my village the toxic waste plant which provides jobs
has sprung a leak. Poisoned water is flowing toward the creek.
Summer! In another province a man is worn and stupefied by heat.
He rapes and murders sixteen women. After, he puts the gun
in his mouth and pulls the trigger. It misfires and he faints.
Autumn! The wind and rain swirl furiously and the leaves fall.
One soldier wakes from a dream. A second does the same. Neither
can see the other. The rockets and bombs have stopped for a
moment and the night sky, normally bright as day, has grown dark.
Winter! It is not cold at all! And the rains have stopped! In
our country this is the time of year when the children are outside.
Their bare feet slap the ground as they walk and run, over each hill
and through the town. When they see the farmer in his field, they
slip into the bush, silent to hide, they are looking for food.
It is a melancholy world. Things are exactly as they are. Thinking,
you can make them worse. I clasp my hands before my face and give
thanks. My breath striking my thumbs is like a small distant wind,
so gentle, so sweet. This pleasure! I feel it and smile.