Trying to Get to School
Dream: halfway to my destination
I remembered something I’d forgotten
and turned around so I could get
it back before it was too late.
But making my way from A to B
could not be managed easily.
Locked courtyard, blocked alleys, a high wall –
I had to cross or climb them all.
I tried and tried without success.
Wherever I turned: NO ACCESS,
no way to reach the subway station
and get from there to my destination
across the river and into a room
I’d open the door to (what was Zoom?),
Enter, talk, listen, and engage
with my students, forgetting age,
and tell them, before time ran out,
what reading and writing were about.
Gathered together in one place,
to talk and listen, face to face:
this, my dream was telling me,
was something that could no longer be.
Henceforth it wouldn’t be allowed
to be part of any crowd.
Locked courtyards and blocked alleyways,
our isolated nights and days,
no hands held up or questions asked,
the eager faces muffled, masked,
all siloed in our separate spaces,
and interposed between us: stasis.
I knew already there was no
way to get where I had to go.
The dream I dreamed six months ago:
Prophetic, but no longer true.
Now crowds have gathered – still masked, yes,
but shouting against voicelessness.
The streets are full, the atmosphere
ardent, infectious. Where is fear?
Forgotten in the hope and flow.
Justice is a pandemic too.
The fizzing spark, the lateral leap,
the sideways skitter (mind the gap!),
fugitive dream recalled mid-morning,
déjà vu pouncing without warning,
meandering at an angle – pun
that stops you before you’ve begun,
tattered palimpsest, hapax,
puzzle that stymies you in your tracks,
lacuna, hiatus, sidebar,
sudden swerve, and you are far
along already toward surprise.
Pause a second and surmise.
Your destination was – where?
One sideways step may get you there,
your wings still crumpled, half asleep –
one unassuming lyric leap.