at Rosemary’s/Carmel Valley

Words shaken so surely from the writer’s dumb mouth
Now come with stutters, the player searching--panning
For the gold flakes she will call her own.
The writer listens, the mug of tea gone cold in his lap.

The worst dream he ever had as a boy, when he awoke in terror,
His bird heart banging itself nauseous against ribs barely hard.
His Roy Rogers flannels sopping with night sweats.
What is it son it’s OK now you’re awake you’re safe.
You’re awake.

The actors, man and woman, block out their movements.
The director sees what none of us can yet see. Would he raise his
Arm like that, shrug, would she sit or stand what’s on the table?
The writer listens, his made-up
World finally creeping toward pale light.

I could never describe the dream but it sure made me cry.
As close as I could get was to say it was about numbers,
Not words. It’s OK son. You’re safe.
You’re awake.
But I wasn’t.

Allston James