Poetry, Summer 2001

by Adrianne Marcus

In This Dream

You are taking our middle daughter
to Slovenia. A month there, you say,
and I am voicelessly wondering
who will tend her
children, who will clean her house.
I am the good housewife: worrying
about the inconsequentials of life, clean
floors, dinner on the table at seven.

Others people my dreams, and in them
they are always saying goodbye.
Or: they disappear like birds, blue wings
flashing into a blue sky, barely visible.
It reassures me, for a moment, that
they have left language behind,
have nothing further to say to me.

Dear friends, those I have loved without
regret, without pause, there are countries
that only appear in dreams, places that
are confusions of light grey and apple green,
lakes that meld into the purple afternoons,
like a science fiction landscape.

Believe in them. A month in Slovenia
and you will come back cured of cancer,
the lesions in your brain dissolved
like salt in water. Even if it is too late
for that dream vacation
I will tend the house, watch the children,


In This Dream

Who is this couple on the wedding cake;
white, immobile? There is sugar everywhere;
it rains down, a blizzard,
lumps underfoot, cascades off the bridal
veil which hides the blank face
of the bride. The groom, stiff in his
black attire, wishes he were anywhere
but here. The frosting crackles underfoot;
he is sinking into the heart of the cake,
he will spend his life, slice by slice,
memorizing the layers, white,
butter creme, white.


In This Dream

Dimpled glass windows hold a storm of red roses
like an abstract painting, blurred and
looming. They are bleeding into the ground,
carpeting the freshly turned soil.
I dream of roses, thick petaled, furious reds,
the childhood pinks and whites that climb
over the fence to be made into small
corsages, wrapped with wax paper so the
stems do not pierce the giver.

Later, the hybrids, red and white speckled,
the famous blue roses, the lavender and silvers
that must remain, untouched, on their long
stems. Fierce oranges, enameled yellows,
here are scents that recall peppery childhood,
the sweetness of long summer evenings
when the flowers turned ghostly, delicate faces
in the night air.


In This Dream

Geography thickens; a street in Lugano bordering
a lake in Minnesota, faces that are almost
familiar speaking foreign languages
neither German nor French, the lilt of Ireland
caught on their tongues. These polyglot
moments, lucid dreams where
observer and observed are one.

In an ornate hotel, our bodies move
with the grace of children. We rise
from velvet sofas and chairs in one fluid motion,
to find the dining room set with creamy damask,
the silver polished, the crystal already brimming
with pale yellow wine. Women in beige
silk blouses with crisp, fine linen skirts; men
in Italian suits, perfectly tailored.

Now we are bringing the children to Paris,
to Rome, and obediently they cling to our hands
looking where we direct them, towards ceilings
where gods float in selected skies. Florence,
New York, Madrid, all in one calendared day.
Every street is a familiar unfolding; we meet lovers
as they once were, that first time, still unknown,
unknowing. The excitement of strangers.

And the air is filled with Baroque music, laughter, where
nothing surprises or disappoints. Magical,
talented, with wisdom never granted the young,
we are all we ever desired; wise beyond logic and time.


2001 Adrianne Marcus

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