In the Dream

In the dream, grandmother’s house

sits at the edge of the woods instead of the end of the hill,

and a merry-go-round turns silent beneath the trees,

and rats make strange noises in the night.


I am five and I am scared,

because what else are five-year-olds to be?

But grandmother takes me by the hand;

she calls me her corazón and wraps me tight in her botón,

and her silver hair shines bright beneath the San Francisco moon.


Then the moon is too bright and I cannot see her,

and all the trees have doors which lead to nothing and no one.

And the rats run up the trunks

and the birds turn silent

and the merry-go-round is still.


I wake and I am old and scared,

for what else is one to be?

All the doors I open hold nothing behind them;

she’s gone and found a new world to herself.

When I finally find her, she’s lost her voice and her

eyes hold no recognition.


But in the dream the next night, we ride the carousel

and she sings “mi corazón” the way she used to do,

and it spins round and round and before it stops,

she sees all the things she’s forgotten the names of,

all whirling about in the glow of the moon.


And we are old, in our own ways,

and young, too,

and happy;

for what else is one to be?


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