This is an idea I had for a poem and I workshopped it last Monday
In restless dreams I am surrounded by clutter:
Clothes piled on the bed, waiting to be packed,
with no time to pick carefully —
just throw whatever into the suitcase.
Or there are boxes, boxes everywhere.
I can’t get around them.
I’m helping my mother move that last time.
Sometimes I am standing outside a house.
When I walk through the door I head down —
Down a long winding tunnel, well lit
although there are no windows.
It’s not a scary dream.
I never reach the end of the tunnel,
never find what might wait there.
Other times I am lost im my dreams.
I have a math class to go to —
almost always a math class — and I am late.
But I don’t know where to go,
I’ve lost my class schedule or,
sadistically, they have moved to a new building.
I’m failing that class I can’t get to.
Oh, and then there is the flying, of course!
I can soar above the trees and lakes,
maybe reach a place not even of this world.
Or I fly up higher and higher until,
dizzy, I bring myself gently to the ground.
I can float up to the ceiling, laughing,
unseen by those busy below me.
Does the spirit wander on its own at night?
Does the psyche re-spin stories
until the moral is unraveled?
Does the brain discard the same old chaff?
I wake from these familiar dreams.
I will not take flight today, but then
I don’t have a math class either.
I made revisions:
Surrounded by clutter:
His clothes piled on the bed,
my own suitcase already in the car,
packed with my impatience.
Or boxes . . . boxes everywhere,
my path around them blocked
while my mother casts suspicious eyes
on every thing I touch.
An inviting house:
Waking through the door
I head down a winding tunnel
lit with a golden glow, not scary
although I never reach the end,
never find what waits there.
My heart sings anticipation,
“Maybe this time.”
Lost on the way to class:
Almost always a math class,
I’m late but can’t find my way,
can’t find my class schedule,
can’t find the right building.
Why am I taking a math class?
Breath catches in my chest.
I’ll fail and have to do this all again.
A secret world:
There it is in the attic,
an alternative life my aunt lived.
I fondle a mink jacket there,
finger the satins and sequins,
bright ball gowns hanging in a row,
slippers that would not survive
a walk to the barn at milking time.
Soaring over hills and lakes,
free and unfettered, air rushing,
I may escape right out to space.
Like a lazy butterfly, I flit
tree limb to telephone pole.
I float quietly to the ceiling
unseen by those below me.
I ponder my dreams on waking.
Does the spirit wander on its own at night to places real, near or far?
Does the psyche re-spin stories until the moral is at last unraveled?
Does the brain merely discard the same old chaff gathered though living?
certain I will not take flight,
grateful I do not have a math class today.