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Callaloo 23.1 (2000) 170

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In the Middle

Forrest Hamer

Part 1: In the Family

I could be wrong, but I think my life is half over.
I think this because of a dream I had a few years ago about a house.
It was my new home. Mostly. It was unfinished.

The house was a circle resting above a story and overlooking trees.
Each room was different and each room had two doorways but no doors,
so leaving and coming in was very easy.
The dream conceived in my conception, cells of me
beginning their own end.
Showing me halfway through my house. The unfinished home.

In a dream I had one year--more a dream about something else
than being 39--I recognized a mere idea
was stopping me from crossing a threshold.
It was like news. It changed me in a small way.

I have an idea about aging.
It is not the same as aging; the body will do as it has been doing.
But there is now less time before death
than there is from being conceived.
It startles me I think about dying
through cliches and dreams I don't author.

In the dream about the unfinished home the rooms are warm
and quite light.
When the floorboards are done, when white paint covers the plaster,
I would bring in the furniture.
I may not need doors.

The truth is I am waiting for the next dreams.
The last one has to be perfect.

Forrest Hamer is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and a practicing psychologist in Oakland, CA. Call & Response (1995) is his first collection of poems.



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