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A Vision
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2015-08-13 12:32:15
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A Vision


Mother stood in the doorway, full of the weight
of what she had within her to say.

“I had a dream,” she began. A disturbing dream,
“A dream about daddy.” He’s been dead more than a year now,
he thought to himself, and now he’s beginning to return.

vision01_400“I had a dream that your father was lying there in the bed,
when this room was a bedroom …lying there,
not moving …and I knew it was him there,
though I could only see the heap of covers, unmoving.

“Not like your father, really, who always kept his feet uncovered
so he could wiggle them at will…
But anyway, there it was …a cold white mound,
and I went closer to see…”

She went on like this, and the details were chilling,
and it meant so much more to this woman,
who had spent all her life with the dead man,
than her words could say, even to her son.

He refused her offered feeling.
His naturalism and her fear fell apart,
making nonsense of one another.
Yes, death. It is meant directly for you, Mother.
You and no one else.
He’s begun to pull you down,
to pull you under the earth with him.
Soon you too will be sucked down all the way.
Soon it will be goodbye.
There is nothing I can do for you.
Was there something you wanted me to do for you?


Later alone with it, he saw it this way:
an old woman, chilled with age, no companion to warm her,
dreams chilling things, but things that hint
of fires in the past, of hinges of passion.
Now unhinged, her life flapping uselessly,
the old woman confides her vision
to the only one who would bother to listen anyhow.

Sometime in the back of time, sometime
in their lying-relation, probably later than earlier,
she had come upon him in his sleep, seeming dead.
She comes upon this picture. It’s early morning
he’s dead to the world. His skin looks like dough.
She sneaks up on him, spies his face, goes up close.
Light freckles his face. It has fallen a lot
since when they were young. There seems to be no breathing
she says to herself: this is the way it will one day be,
the way, some day, I will see him, the way I will remember him.
She repeats this, and believes it too.
Years later, now, having forgotten,
she believes that she’s had a monition.

Refusing to speak.
So contemptuous of us are the dead
that they refuse to speak.
We have to invent their words for them
and even so we are afraid.
Because we are afraid of them, we treat them
better than we treat ourselves,
even pity them, though they are beyond that,
don’t even care about themselves,
beyond our feeling, beyond communication.
Unworldly, and unfeeling, they refuse us.
They are what we don’t want to ever be,
we, who refuse to believe in the cold.

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