How to Build a Dream

In a low-shouldered bowl, spike eight ounces of vinegar
with four ounces of water and set it on the bedside table.
Add salt, six navels of salt. Stir with your thumb until dissolved.

Blacken your windows with oil. A spent synthetic works
best if applied with a camel hair brush. It’s thick
with miles. Nevermind the drip—this is night, and it runs.

Tape a cherry pit to the small of your back and pray
for rain, the sound of rain. Turn everything off.
Lay down in your sheets still rumpled from yesterday

and focus on that little red dot on the television frame.
That is your life. It pulses. Your room grows red with loss.
The ceiling recedes and the creases fold themselves inside out.

Sip from the bowl and let the cherry pit grind in your back.
See how they come then—the faces, the blue faces. The mouths
and eyes and tongues that wag and lap at your cheek.

Ignore them. Ancestors. Sirens. Now that you’ve tasted the sea
and cling to a rock, close your eyes and sleep. The dream
will come—a blackboned boat, rain and the ravens, the one
you betrayed years ago: all you’ve ever asked of a dream.

Image: Roan Lavery on Unsplash

Published: West Trade Review Vol. 12, Fall 2021 —

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