Some people I’ve met only in dreams.
One shouts across the rails in a terminal,
another whispers from a garden behind pine.
“What did you say?” and “Are you free tonight?”
But clouds don’t offer rain nor do streams
fondle trout. Things don’t exist this way.
The future does not rest along some byway
smoking a pipe as the past pisses in a stream,
planning yesterday’s meal and ambush by night.
We hike down a fire road towards the terminal,
too dark to linger on and foggy with dream.
If we fall off course, we’re lost in the pine.
Just up ahead, an end to the pine,
someone’s lost child apprehended in dream.
Her call for help echoing in the terminal
from no direction known, finds a way
into our mind, jolted in mid-stream.
What’s next? Free fall into bottomless night?
Sinking blind steps in a marsh full of night,
watching for the fox to show at the stream,
I ask what drives me on to live this way.
The camera is empty. Terminus
between lake and pine – and sate and pine –
flickers with desire from the flint of dream.
Where are the eyes that see in a dream?
We frustrate love if we love to pine,
mind sulking off to its own terminus.
Talk to me, specter, but don’t bar my way.
Would you lurk in my day, dance in my night,
flatter my wife and fish in my stream?
It’s deceiving to call consciousness a stream
or believe a soul suffers a dark night.
One foot after another plods the way,
and fate’s just a swim that proves terminal.
Yet who has not snapped out of a dream
breathless and afraid for the love one pines?
Beyond the homeless portal of a dream,
trout chase stars in a stream beneath pine
while the night drifts off into terminus.
How you fed the rabbit, his gentle nibbling
enthralled you, so different from a dog’s
or the pack of diners with their private
gluttony communicating nothing except
“I am I.” He’d come back again and again,
so carefully out of the woods behind your house,
all puffed up on your left-over stew. But then,
as the sun set and a light snow blew in
off the sound, you saw how you had fattened
your friend for the fox, ripping the sinews,
profaning the white fur and white snow,
delicately gorging himself as he eyed you
on your stoop with a look that said thanks
and stay back at the same time. And then,
he bathed in snow, getting the blood off,
the gobs, rubbing himself clean and innocent,
sated and free, as carrots dropped from your hand.
Anthony DiMatteo‘s poems and criticism have recently found a home in Long Island Quarterly, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Mimesis, Main Street Rag, Words-Myth, College Literature and Early Modern Literary Studies. When he’s not professing English at the New York Institute of Technology, writing poetry or sailing his boat, he can be found hiking somewhere.
“Ancient maples buffered our old house from the Long Island Railroad. Still, when the train swooshed by, it would make our beds and coffee in our cups tremble with a little seizure. One day, while I sat on the front porch, the train suddenly halted directly across from our yard. Twenty minutes later, police knocked on our door, asking me where the boys were who stopped the train. My stepson and his friend sheepishly emerged from behind the trees. They had been playing laser tag and decided to see if the lasers could reach the trainthey could. The two twelve-year-olds got off with a warning. Now many years later, with that old house sold, when I have the rare occasion to drive past, I never see anyone sitting on the front porch. But the memories rattle on.”