new skin i take

in the dream i have an extra outer layer of skin on my hands, thin and peeling and
cracked in many places.
inside the cracks i see small pantry moths crawling and cocooning and growing and i am just freaked out enough to tear away at the skin to rip off the outer layer.
to make myself a new skin i take a new piece of special paper and cut out the shape of a hand

hiking to the beaver ponds we have to thrash our way through overgrown mountain laurel and high bush blueberry, winding around swampy muck and side stepping sloshy puddles. t says wouldn’t it be easier if mammoths were still alive?, instead of deer trails, we would all just follow mammoth trails.

at first we hear the owls, barred?, and then the coyotes, two, maybe four?, announcing themselves with yips and howls, and we can’t help but
stop our hurried walking (the light is fading, and are we going to make it down the mountain before we can’t see anymore?) to smile and listen to everything that happens in this place at the edge of day and night

an indoor picnic of pomegranate, salted almonds, pickled onions and rhubarb apricot jam on toast
arranged on a milk crate table on a solid oak floor. and not to mention the piece of dark chocolate and the four paper bags of different types of seaweed hand-harvested off the coast of maine. tasting the differences between sea lettuce and kelp and irish moss
while wet boots balance on the edge of desk above the
radiator waiting to dry.

visions of bright

renewing
the pledge to notice, and to pin down the noticings like dried flowers
on the notecards on my table, again

learning gomphrena, the flower that comes in hues of purple and red and the kind with yellow dashes on the tips, fireworks, feeling thankful for the papery bracts that lend themselves easily to visions of bright winter window decorations

soak up the sun’ I say to the first graders walking on the farm who are complaining that they are hot and they are thirsty, and when can they sit down, ‘ because it will be winter sooner than we think!’ I say even though that is hard to imagine in the 80 degrees and not even 11am on this mid-October morning

ordering hot and sour soup for the third time in two weeks from the same restaurant under the bridge, this time its dark outside and raining. inside its all smiles we’re laughing and shouting and reaching out with our arms to underscore injustices and gesticulate our fantasies of growing 15 foot perennial grasses in 10 foot long garden beds so sometimes I become conscious of how much louder we are than the older couple sitting at the table next to us, but they don’t seem bothered and the red hue of the wallpaper and the soft maroon of the napkins and the spicy warming liquid is warming more than just the inside of my stomach.

and i witness

in the dream the cocoon of the monarch appears to be drying out, it swells and shows preemptive signs of hatching. panicking, i cover it with a cloth in an effort to keep it in the dark a little longer, to let it continue to gestate.

but it hatches anyway, and i witness the still birth of a butterfly, its pale orange wings not fully formed.

when I wake up i forget the dream until
i am in the kitchen making eggs for breakfast and i see
the clear container on the counter where the monarch cocoon hangs on a mesh screen, and it doesn’t look swollen or dried out. the colors are deepening to black, signs of almost readiness to emerge. the gold spotted trim gleams.
picture of health.

i had written my estimate of when it would hatch on the side of the box due date 9/17 which happens to be tomorrow, so there is still a little bit of time.

smashing a crowd of them

in the dream the girl is five years old, and it is clear that i had abandoned her. she looks up at me with her blue green eyes as if she’s asking the hardest question in the world, and i feel the pressure of whatever it was i had done weighing down on my chest.

kneeling in the wet ground i plant the
sunflowers
with c,
the ones i had started on my windowsill in june, the ones now with root bound bottoms all interlaced and overgrown, craning their still strong stems upward to see the sun and i say
sorry
that it took me this long to find bare earth to plant them. and the drizzling rain christens their new home.

but they’re not from around here, m, who is 6, says
about the gypsy moths, when i stop him from smashing a crowd of them that we find on the giant oak tree. well, are you from around here? i ask him, to which he nods emphatically, not understanding a connection. but why don’t they just go back to where they came from?! he says angrily. it’s just a little more complicated than that,  i say, and we walk to catch up with the rest of the group entering into the woods.

tall green muck boots

 

in the dream there are a lot of people on the dock and we are about to get on a raft.
we are told that there is a forty percent chance of capsizing, but we are going anyway, and i am worrying about which part of the journey to prepare for – the beginning or the middle or the end  – and so with five minutes to spare i decide to run back to get my tall green muck boots,
but before i sprint off, i point to a large quiet man in the crowd who is wearing suspenders and dark denim work pants and i whisper to the people next to me, ‘see, he’s our guardian angel’

when k and i decide to put on lipstick just to walk up the gravel road in hiking boots and summer dresses to watch the sun set over the lake, and in between catching our breath on the climb up the hill, we sing.

the feeling of alive that is when wind is gusting over my goose bump skin, just after jumping into cold quarry water, and getting out again
almost fast as i went in.

 

light at the back

when in the dream my sister disappears from the station and leaves without me for the train, and i am still at the ticket counter, emptying my pockets, scrambling for a photo id, and i can’t find my red backpack, no not that one, i say to the lady at the desk, almost in tears when she offers assistance, and then i am yelling
at everyone, and i am late,
for the train.

as many colors in spring as there are in fall, someone in the circle says and I find myself nodding, agreeing, especially aware of the reds and pinks and whites and greens and soft hues of colors i didn’t know were different from each other until they popped up side by side a few weeks ago.

sitting next to all the seedlings at the living room window before bedtime,
parsley
rainbow chard
mixed greens
pickling cucumbers
and
black plum
tomatoes,
talking to nd and kw about death and
dying,
feeling the tang of raspberry sorbet still on my tongue
and the intensity of the
overhead light at the
back of my eyeballs.