Tuesday, September 25, 2007

All I have to do is Dream

Shadow in Dust

I no longer dream. Sometimes too, I garble my words. My teeth are skewered. I grow self-conscious whenever I have to speak. When I type, I sometimes finish only half a word or add an extra letter, like an extra “c” in the word accident. At night, when it comes time to turn down the sheets, I am reminded of the accident. I fluff the pillow and I lose strength, suddenly blighted. I lie down and close my eyes. It’s the same as when they’re open, only darker, degrees of transition that never find an end.

I used to dream—of tigers on the moon, and rabbits that know things without being told. Of being outside in my underwear. Preparing to sleep, expectantly (expecting what I did not know)—I miss that feeling. Once I dreamed I’d won the lottery and this man in a suit and I were posing with an enormous cardboard check. Lot's of zeroes. I’d wake refreshed, eager to meet another day. Now waking life and sleeping life are the same crossed mish-mash of moribund nothings, a day-time / night-time dreamlessness.

And I’m always tired. I’ll sleep two days straight and still be dragging all the time. I raise my head sluggishly. It’s heavy as a sack of sand. My body is a bag of pains. I sag where I should hold tight, and I’m stiff where I am meant to bend. It was a bad accident. There were days I wish I’d up and . . . those days are mostly over.

Not only don’t I dream. I can’t read the way I used to, or write as well either. They had to put my left eye back in place. There’s a little silicon sheath inside my skull that holds it up because the socket’s gone. I drag my eye around, rolling it along this Saran Wrap hammock in my head. The eye grows tired and then my right eye strains to compensate. There are scars inside my face, more taut and knarled than the ones on its outside. I forget quickly so I now keep lists and hang them on the refrigerator. I hang them there because I kept forgetting where I had put them. Now I have one place for lists: food to buy, things to do, bills to pay, doctor’s appointments.

My first book made enough that I put a down payment on this house. Now the banks are looking to take it back. I’ve sent the cleaning girl away for good. I keep the curtains drawn. It’s dark in here most of the time. A friend who’d visited when I was convalescing brought me a gift, a plaque to hang on the wall. He laughed and I pretended it did not sting. “Dust is a Protective Coating.”

A thin layer covers my shelves and all their bric-a-brac, little shells and figurines. My favorite is a skeleton in a priest’s frock—a Day of the Dead statuette from Mexico. I can’t bother myself about dust. When the phone rings panic spikes in my chest. I typically will not answer. I’m afraid most of the time. It seems my agent, the one person I’d welcome a call from, forgets things too. She no longer remembers my name. I am told I have grown overly sensitive. Memory and language ebb and flow. I am shadow mantled in dust. Worst of all, the blow to my head knocked the dreams right out of it.

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