restricted access The Real Nightmare
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The Real Nightmare

When pressed

            by new and old strangerson why I left my husband, I alwaystell the truth:                        we devoured each other

hungry for toes and tits, a salt lickof limbs            orgasm after orgasmuntil it felt like the whole world             was coming

to nothingbut splinters of the driest branch.

I know this is a classic storybecause it shuts them up.

But nowif I turn down my sheetschildren start screamingthrough windows          and Jane shakesme awake, asking

if it was the city or the valley               nightmare. Her hand a dynasty [End Page 163]

               of emerald hummingbirdssaving us all from famine,

from the real nightmare:

that I'll gobble Jane too, actas a wendigo slurping her bodyto the nub—

or is this the truly bad dream:that the appetite was never there?

Safety the only thing to savor. [End Page 164]

Tana Jean Welch

Tana Jean Welch is the author of Latest Volcano, winner of the 2015 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize. Born and raised in Fresno, California, she currently lives in Tallahassee, where she is an assistant professor of medical humanities at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Her poems have appeared in journals including Colorado Review, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. Visit tanajeanwelch.com.

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