Time to wake up

My dream…Something good was about to happen. I was trying to go back there.
~Samuel, age 7, in tears upon waking late for school after ignoring his mother’s calls

Sometimes, no matter that we slap ourselves to stay awake,
we fall asleep. We wake within someone else’s dream,
driving past their 7-11, their grocery carts, speeding through
their neighborhoods, getting pulled over by their police.

We go with it. Wear their brand of bra. Raise children
in their schools.  Watch their favorite movies: horror.
They tolerate ours: foreign drama. Years pass.

We try to remember the dream we were having before,
the one where something good was about to happen.

Then the dreamers who pulled us in—leave,
leave us in their dream.  We walk their streets
at night. Paint their walls. Tend their weeds.

We twist and kick to wrest ourselves awake.
Speak in a dream tongue no one else speaks.
The dream quakes. Its inhabitants turn away.
Maybe someone watching us sleep sees

our lips move, hears the sounds becoming heavy
words:  wake me. They do. We grab our children’s
hands and try to pull them through.

But the dream holds on to our feet just when
something good is about to happen,

because something good is about to happen,
is always happening, and to be awake means
something we never dreamed.

2010

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