Descartes’ Three Dreams

~"Est et non" (It is and it is not)


Write a dream, lose a reader,
a poetry teacher once proclaimed:
as if there were a difference between

story and dream, dream and poem, one
a train track cutting across the mountains
and the other the sound you hear as you turn,

restless in your sheets, close to morning.
There are plants that flower only a single
night of the year, ghostly as hallucinations:

and the stems out of which their creamy
throats rise, the scaffold that sometimes
,we call origin or history. Then

there are stories about philosophers
going to bed inside the oven of night
waking to a dream where a book lies

open on the table; words flickering
on the page become a dream dictation
they take with them back into the world

where problems spill beyond the edges
of chalkboards, with no solution in sight.
But the body of a dream is more

than a triangle or a cube, even if it is
less than a single thread of a whirlwind
that can spin you around on one foot

like a top; and the book of instruction
is a book of verse, out of which the warm
smell of ripe melons brings the body

back to itself. Therefore I can find
no difference between the ticket I buy
in the dream for going back to a country

I'll never see again, and the low
warning note that sounds as real trains
depart from the platform. There are so many

people in the dream station: magazines and
coffee in hand, checking time schedules;
crowding the counter for lost luggage.

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