Once he comes to live on the outside of her, he will not sleep
through the night or the next 400. He sleeps not, they sleep not.
Ergo they steer gradually mad. The dog's head shifts another
paw under the desk. Over a period of 400 nights.
You will see, she warns him. Life is full of television sets,
invoices, organs of other animals thawing on counters.
In her first dream of him, she leaves him sleeping on Mamo's
salt-bag quilt behind her alma mater. Leaves him to the Golden
Goblins. Sleep, pretty one, sleep.
... the quilt that comforted her brother's youthful bed, the
quilt he took to band camp.
Huh oh, he says, Huh oh. His word for many months.
Merrily pouring a bottle of Pledge over the dog's dull coat. And
with a round little belly that shakes like jelly.
Waiting out a shower in the Border Cafe; the bartender
spoons a frozen strawberry into his palm-leaf basket while they
lift their frosted mugs in a grateful click.
He sits up tall in his grandfather's lap, waving and waving to
the Blue Bonnet truck. Bye, blue, bye.
In the next dream he stands on his toes, executes a flawless
flip onto the braided rug. Resprings to crib.
The salt-bag quilt goes everywhere, the one the bitch
Rosemary bore her litters on. The one they wrap around the
mower, and bundle with black oak leaves.
How the bowl of Quick Quaker Oats fits his head.
He will have her milk at 1:42, 3:26, 4 a.m. Again at 6. Bent
over the rail to settle his battling limbs down for an afternoon
nap. Eyes shut, trying to picture what in the world she has on.
His nightlight - a snow-white pair of porcelain owls.
They remember him toothless, with one tooth, two tooths,
five or seven scattered around in his head. They can see the day
when he throws open his jaw to display several vicious rows.
Naked in a splash of sun, he pees into a paper plate the guest
set down in the grass as she reached for potato chips.
Copyright © C.D. Wright, 2002