In the Light of One Lamp

Sean Thomas Dougherty
I crawled into bed and closed my eyes and not long after heard the small hooves of the horses, the tiny ones that gallop in our dreams, or are they the dreams of our children, galloping through the black ruins. Everything we do is against the crippling light. To hear them cry at night is to know they are alive. When they are scared they come galloping down the long hall calling your name. Tonight, it is our oldest daughter, the red mare with her fiery mane, she snuggles in between us and falls back to sleep in your arms, to that secret place inside her, she barely moves, crossing over the river, through a grove of alders, through the black ruins, she is the one who once whispered, the grass it knows everything.

More by Sean Thomas Dougherty

Dear Tiara

I dreamed I was a mannequin in the pawnshop window 
      of your conjectures.

I dreamed I was a chant in the mouth of a monk, saffron-robed
      syllables in the religion of You.

I dreamed I was a lament to hear the deep sorrow places
      of your lungs.

I dreamed I was your bad instincts.

I dreamed I was a hummingbird sipping from the tulip of your ear. 

I dreamed I was your ex-boyfriend stored in the basement 
      with your old baggage. 

I dreamed I was a jukebox where every song sang your name.  

I dreamed I was in an elevator, rising in the air shaft
      of your misgivings.  

I dreamed I was a library fine, I've checked you out
      too long so many times.  

I dreamed you were a lake and I was a little fish leaping
      through the thin reeds of your throaty humming.

I must've dreamed I was a nail, because I woke beside you still
      hammered.  

I dreamed I was a tooth to fill the absences of your old age.  

I dreamed I was a Christmas cactus, blooming in the desert 
      of my stupidity.

I dreamed I was a saint's hair-shirt, sewn with the thread
      of your saliva.  

I dreamed I was an All Night Movie Theater, showing the
      flickering black reel of my nights before I met you.

I must've dreamed I was gravity, I've fallen for you so damn hard.

Related Poems

Dreams

Mysterious shapes, with wands of joy and pain,
Which seize us unaware in helpless sleep,
And lead us to the houses where we keep
Our secrets hid, well barred by every chain
That we can forge and bind: the crime whose stain
Is slowly fading ’neath the tears we weep;
Dead bliss which, dead, can make our pulses leap—
Oh, cruelty! To make these live again!
They say that death is sleep, and heaven’s rest
Ends earth’s short day, as, on the last faint gleam
Of sun, our nights shut down, and we are blest.
Let this, then, be of heaven’s joy the test,
The proof if heaven be, or only seem,
That we forever choose what we will dream!