19/30 Poems in November: Life Is but a Dream


Sometimes my life feels like a dream.
And I think I might wake up and be 80 years old,
like really old. 
And it will turn out
I was dreaming 
about being 10.

Maybe I’m dreaming, too.
Then you’re in my dream.
But how do you know?
You might be in mine.

Maybe we really are dreaming.
There’s no way to be sure.
What I don’t say is that
some parts of the dream

are more like nightmares.
What I don’t say is that I I want
to be there when you wake up
and yet this is unlikely.

What I don’t say is that there will be times
when you do wake up, when you see
things as they really are.
What I don’t say is I think you’re right.

In this dream, we have running water
from faucets.
We have clean clothes and everyone sleeps
in their own beds.

We have Thanksgiving dinner
and false premises and teetering traditions.
We have leased skis and no guarantees
of snow this year.

Some siblings your age in another country
far from this one scoop water with their two hands
from a few feet underground. They repeat this
every single morning before the sun rises.

In this dream, you don’t know about being
a refugee or about fleeing or hiding
or seeing your home turn to rubble
or rubber dinghies or rubber stamps or check points.

In this dream, Saturday brings a birthday party
at a circus studio, where you’ll swing
and jump and eat cake with kids who all speak
the same language as you.

In this dream, you will have to find your people.
Who will know who you really are?
Who will know who you dream of becoming?
This work starts early and believe me, keeps going.

In this dream, I ask you to wash your dish
when you’re done. We are so far removed
from the water keepers. You want to spit
in a cup and see where you’re from.

Can you please get me some water?

In this dream, we’re training children
to get their own water and to be warriors.
In this dream, we decry child soldiers
but hunger to read and bear witness to others.

In this dream, I tell you about swastika
graffiti but you’ve never heard gunshots
and you say you will stay inside for four years
before heading out to play in the yard.


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