Ode to Dreaming the Dead
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Ode to Dreaming the Dead

Come to the stage and beyour cartoonish self,says the dream,says the tiny impressionistin the cerebellum,says the frontal lobe,or whatever gray nooksets out a fewchaise loungesfor the gone.There is a feelinglike snapping a sheetout over a bed.There is a silenceof a sheet settling.And if you haven’tfelt it, you will—says the aneurysm,say the rebel cells,says the lightning strikeand its proud father,the thunder, which says,good boy, now again.When I dreamof my dead, I wakein a sweat and sitin the kitchenand listen to the lowradio while the milkwarms. And sitting there,I have wished it were lawthat each personbefore they dierecord one song, just one— [End Page 121] and if they couldn’t singthey could blowa terrible trumpetor kazoo, it wouldn’tmatter since suchclamor could be hummedalong to—a littlelast whistle and testament,maybe, a little dittyinfusing the dark roomswhich are too quietwithout them.And if you’re waitingfor the momentthis poem pivotsinto joy, I’m sorry,it’s not coming this time,I thought it mighthere in this quiet kitchen,but it didn’tand that’s alright.All I want is to hearthem hum a tune—my dead which populatethe dream like a mutechorus of horses,for which I unlatchthe barn gate,and point to the openfield, and clickmy tongue, but whichonly stand therestaring at the grass. [End Page 122]

Keith Leonard

Keith Leonard is the author of the chapbook Still, the Shore (YesYes Books). He has held scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Indiana University, where he received his MFA. Keith’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Journal, Memorious, and Mid-American Review, among other journals.

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