November 2011 - Comments Off

Stopped for the Night Halfway South

Ben Redmond '14

Last night I dreamt that I was in love with you and you
were in love with the idea of my loving you. In a foreign
bed low to the ground like those from ancient Egypt
I lay down to sleep states south from my own
mattress, resting at a friend’s house midway to coastal
Carolina. I was far from the thin streets I take to get to you—
those with the elms and pine trees encroaching
heavily upon the pavement like the Yam Suph
waters closing in.

Heat unlike home led me to lay awake
and watch the dark and the time it took
to sleep led me to notice the light until I could make
out the corners of the room, not illumined, but present
again in the faintest plain yellow glow from beneath the bedroom
door, from the light of midnight outside—the sky must
have been clear—from the streetlight near the end
of the drive. Little radiance lithe enough to work
its way through the blinds albeit I had them closed tightly.

I remember the small twitching
of my fingers and knees when I did close my eyes, waiting for the saccade
of sleep to arrive, moving subtly the way dogs
sometimes do. And as my eyes moved below
their lids in REM, quick like minnows are, you showed
yourself. You were the same. Your arms were your arms
and I remember well how the warmth of those arms around
my shoulders resembled how your body feels
when it is near mine—I know the feelings of our waking
closeness. This goes for your eyes too and how
they search and lock at the same time and I always
wonder how you can do that. And I was some part
of myself, maybe something like astral
projection, maybe just an eye floating above the rest
of me, but only one, for I see clearly in dreams.
This one comes to memory in flashes; your lips
on my cheek; the pulse in my fingertips; the soft sounds
and the rustling of sheets; my lips on your cheek. I do not
know if I can call it a memory, though, recalling
in a dream how it felt to kiss and hold like lovers do.

I think about
you and I think about how much
I think about you
and I think about that, too. Did you know that?
I have told
you a third
of it, but hope that
somewhere you
know the rest, and I ask
myself what Brautigan asked
Akiko or Janice, but most
probably his Marcia:
“Do you think of me/as often/as I think/of you?”

I tell my new friends, faces you will never
know, about how you let me down
easy once, written word through computer wires
because of a he said-she said that was all true.

I wrote you letters and this is not the first
time I have written you into a poem, but the greater
guilt gets the best of me—this is a hard
thing to share.

If we are as close as we will be I would rather forget
having dreamt last night at all. If you cannot
love me, I should have been sleepless.

Ben Redmond used to read Word Up magazine.

Published by: in Poetry, Volume 68

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