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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 2, June 2014

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Steven Carter
Tucson, Arizona, USA


Two Dreams of Annie

In memoriam

1.

Death in summer . . .

Still, hardly anyone I know passed away in the warm months: always cold, stars hung like icicles from a dazzling moon.

. . . Wandering through a meadow crisscrossed with shadows and sunlight; clouds, benignly indifferent, march from horizon to horizon: sheep following the leader in solemn foolery. . .

As I sit alone in the tall grass she approaches, tossing a lock of hair from her eyes. Her hair is so dark it’s almost blue, like the rich earth of Minnesota where she was born before moving to California and the group home she and I were exiled to.

The disease ticking inside her is unknown to both of us.

She sits down next to me and takes my hand while a meadowlark, startled by our presence, sings seven bright notes of warning.

It’s the same song I heard when very young, before foster homes came into my life: dozing on a summer morning, window open, all the world’s kindness, certitude, comfort, joy, and yes faith, in the breeze that filled my curtains.

sound of a waterfall
on her shoulder
a glass-wing butterfly

2.

Wan yellow. . .

The sun rises behind my eyelids, and the country I’m wandering through this night begins to brighten: its lone valley, spotted with live-oaks, yawning and stretching like a young leopard.

What is she doing right now? Oh, but I know: turning in bed, eyes open, gazing at the east window brimming with oranges, yellows, and pale pinks: her own dreams fleeing like ghosts into the comfort of the room’s dark corners, singing, “Good-bye – don’t forsake us!?”

And I know the point that must be reached is the point of no return.

cries and whispers
what we say
what we hear

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