by Gill Ward

The dream
jumped into bed
with me last night
bringing a cast of thousands.
They were insistent and
voracious, really strident
in their demands for attention
and somehow
exchanged heads and names
and bodies and conversations
all of which seemed
perfectly reasonable
but confusing and anxious making.
And I kept up with them too
flailing my arms,
getting plates of food,
glass bottles of milk,
trying to sit discreetly
on a toilet with no door
and when I turned round
no walls either
and every last one of them
was watching or waiting
for their turn and somehow
some of the dead ones
were there too
talking and acting as if they had never left and
I thought ‘what mean trick to pretend you were
dead all this time. That wasn’t fair.
You gulled me and I believed you.’
And just as I was about to give up grieving
they all went back dead again.

Then mercifully I was
on a train to Rome with no ticket
and my only problem
was looking for my passport
and it seemed calming
until I saw the toilet at the
end of the carriage
with no walls and
only one scant curtain.

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