I dream of Peter

Large, sleek head bobbing beneath

Drowned branches and brambles


His big beagle eyes

Not even bright with sadness

His reedy voice stilled under water grasses

I killed him

With the red-slicked club

Taken from the fallen

Tree I made his marker

Its stiff, deadlocked limbs

His coffin lid

Ink-soft mud his pillow

Breathing relief

I turn to go

Home and forget

But I stop, rooted

As popping, doll-dead eyes roll

And make of me their target

The tree does not keep him

Branches part for his body

To stand without breath

The soaked black suit clings

To the small, round frame

Red drips off my elbow

A blood slug

Peter jerks up a wisp-lit arm

The tree shudders

Heaves itself on splayed hands

The frailer fingers break

Joints creak, crack

Scabby elbows rise high above its trunk

I run

Chasing escape in the dusk

The tree follows


On six-hundred arms

The gray grass is slick

It betrays my feet

And I am flung

Among the grass' greedy fingers

Which turn into coiling bedsheets

Twisted 'round me

In the dark-painted hours

Restraining me to my bed

With my own body weight

I gasp in relief

He really is dead

A grateful moment ticks by

'Til I become aware of

The harsh, cricket-scrape

Of a tree finger against the glass

And a worm-pale face

Pressed against my window