Unraveling From the Edges
Yes, I see them from the edges—
Tall things, so close to human, long coat
Or long hair, dark in the window-glass.
I turn, and they turn to only
Curtains, coatrack, figures falling into nothing
After all. And yes, I wake with eyes wide open,
Feeling them snatch at my face, my hands,
With cold, brittle fingers. I feel
Her breath on the back of my neck.
I wake, and they wake as only
The scraps and bones of dreams. Yes,
I start at the slightest sound, every scratch
In the walls, every turn of the screw, every
Doorknob aching to slowly, painfully rotate.
I start, and they start to be only
The cat, the wind, the hum of the lights after all.
I catch my reflection, face pale in the glass,
Eyes nothing but bruises, darkened and torn,
And I think: yes, it is only my mind, only
Unsettling dreams, anxious nerves, jumping
At shadows: but is that really better than
If there were ghosts?
I rise, once slumbering, to find
The clear sharp way of being:
No longer something blurred and dark,
Fae-child or dream-thing, only
Myself with solid, waking skin.
My dreams are older than myself—
Is there anything I could dream
That hasn’t been dreamt before?
Is there anything I could write,
Love song, love poem, lament,
That hasn’t been sung before?
In daylight’s glass-sharp eyes,
I rise, no longer comfortable
Or comforted. They’re gone,
These dreams, soft-edged and wild,
That once were solely mine.
Hailing from the rainy Pacific Northwest, Mallory Hobson’s work has appeared in such venues as From the Farther Trees, Mookychick, Seshat Literary Magazine, and Dark Lane Anthology Volume 3. Her writing will also be appearing in The Colored Lens Fall 2021.
photo by Mario Azzi (via unsplash)