Miss Peach the Novel (audio only)
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Don’t worry. One kills in dreams
but wakes having not killed.
Having not killed is part of waking. Some mornings, though,
you lay there pinned under layers of light, fear,
and woolen blankets.
You know what’s right and what’s wrong,
what you don’t know is what happened
and if you were actually there.
That’s why dreams of digging a deep hole with a stolen shovel
are so confusing. That’s why you expect to jerk awake
when you stand in a pile of dry brush
holding a lit match in your hand.
When I was young, I hid under the porch with a star in my throat. When I got a little older, my mother opened the cupboard to let the fire out. I should’ve known the cliffs meant a coming blankness. We should’ve noticed the competition growing deadly between the masts and the trees. The problem wasn’t the lateness of our parties but what we used for wood to keep them lit. What is it people say—take my arm and walk with me along the shore for a minute? My mother, bless her, is a speck of color in the flush of a great cheek.
What is red and singing on the inside, gray and moaning on the outside? (The opera house) What is green, damp, and stuck between the forest's teeth? (The doctor) What drags on the floor and catches fire? What reveals the girl's legs while destroying them? (The afternoon sun) What grows tall, blocks the sun, loses everything, and still darkens the field? (The young man looking for the idiot boy.) What spreads out by simplifying further? What (smoke) was here? What (government)? What saves and ruins?