koi sidebar

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018

Richard Grahn
Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Last Exit

It begins somewhere in the nebulous inklings of REM sleep, at just about midnight, as we're speeding down a quiet wooded road. Sara has the wheel in a stranglehold. We're in the midst of a major tiff.

From out of the darkness, a pair of glowering-white eyes suddenly appears in the headlights. Instead of hitting the brakes, Sara flips the overdrive switch. The car leaves the ground with a whoosh and is quickly transformed into a flying carpet in the shape of a raven. Gravity pulls at the pit of my stomach. Sara is nowhere to be seen.

My temper slowly settles to a simmer as the raven-carpet soars higher and higher into the moonless, starlit night. Soon the earth vanishes, and the rug pulls over next to a narrow set of stairs stretching upward in the direction of the constellation Orion. Three hula dancers step forward to greet me with leis in their outstretched hands. They lead the way, swaying hypnotically in the starlight, strewing petals along the steps. Together we climb into an endless realm of sky as my thoughts reach out for Sara.

oh, that I had never left
such echoes in your ears . . .
morph into wolves
feasting on my words

Saint Peter stands at the top of the stairs next to Sara and an archangel wielding a trumpet. Suddenly, the horn sounds and the stairs fall away.

Falling is far from flying. There's no bottom to space. Stars whiz by as a cold sweat pours out onto the sheets. The dream ends with a lurch, and I wake up feeling unworthy.



| contents page | next tanka prose |

koi sidebar r