In Praise of Dreams

after Wisława Szymborska

In my dreams,
I lasso a wild steer on the first try.

I chauffeur Picasso
To meet up with Dali—
None of us is happy about this summit.

After licking my fingertips,
I play guitar masterfully.

I use index cards to make sense
Of the universe.

I discover my childhood cat in the neighbor’s tree—
So that’s where you’ve been, you little rascal.

I beg the alligator, por favor,
To make a snap judgement,
Will it be my leg or my arm?

Picture me swimming with dolphins.
Picture me with these dolphins
Sitting in lawn chairs.

I’m full of gratitude—
The lightbulb comes on
When the refrigerator door is opened.

Yes, I’m the scientist who solved laryngitis—
Now all of us howl at our own pleasure.

I get to throw a trophy from a moving car.
When I park my car,
I’m awarded another trophy—
Someone above is giving me a second chance.


Copyright © 2020 by Gary Soto. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 29, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Years ago, a poet friend showed me a photo of her cat, taken on the spur of the moment, with a cigarette in her furry chops. The cat was walking across a thick springy lawn. If I hadn’t trusted my friend, I would have shrugged and said, ‘I don’t believe it for one second—get me another beer, please.’ This poem of mine is all about the unbelievable, which visits me in dreams, with the help of godsend Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska.”
Gary Soto