The Prize Winner
I Dreamed I Married a Ghost
I dreamed I married a ghost
and she said, “Don’t.”
What kind of doctor is that?
Like a terrier dragging my skirt
as I try to walk through the wardrobe to Narnia.
My ghost was no lion.
More of a womanizing
scotch-drinking sharp guy.
But golden from tip to toe. That glow.
I wanted to—“Don’t,” she said.
I dreamed my car sank in the mud.
I started digging, found a box--
this must be bones--and it was,
white and lacy, neatly hung,
a manly skeleton. It did its stuff
rising up, leering and flapping,
then crawled inside my bed
humping itself under the covers.
A pair of girls came by
fifteen-year-olds in tight wool sweaters
so I made it stop with a good shout.
The bed went flat and the girls pouted.
“Don’t start,” I said, waking.
“It's about your father,” she began
and I tuned out, in a slouch,
thinking of fathers as material
to be worked, mere stuff
of nightmare, legend, nothing
real, not lunch or lessons
not Goodnight, Moon, not birthday wishes,
wisdom or old jokes.
He took himself out
like a severed limb or aborted goat
left on the path, ghastly smear
of organic matter that was once
the man who courted and won
my beautiful, reluctant mother.
The doctor wanted me free
of dream direction. In the light
of the unexpected, just me,
unwinged by the maladjusted couple.
She was not wrong
and I’m not all right.
Lately I have come to believe only
in matter and death, universe
of randomness, without meaning
for the primate brain, however
philosophical we grow, charmingly
synapse-rich, so congress
with the spirits holds no risk of karmic interference.
Welcome to my bedside, man-shade.
I like those one-color
eyes of yours that flicker
like an obsessive counting the tiny panes
of a bathroom window. Regale me
with your centuries of sport-fuck--
beggar maids and queens--
dispel my melancholia with your nonexistent prick.