Anne Champion

Interpreting the Dream

I was not myself, not my current self at least; I must have been sixteen, maybe seventeen— which is to say I’m naïve when it comes to you. You were in your wife’s parked car, and she sat behind the wheel. I don’t need to interpret the obvious. When I saw the car, I ran up to it, rashly, giddily even, until your wife lunged at me, screaming Stop it! Stop pursuing him! Which goes to show I have thought nothing of consequences, or perhaps, I think of nothing but consequences which is why I have dreams. You were cowering on the curb with your head in your hands. I didn’t know how to interpret that— it wasn’t you. I was mute, I nodded as if I finally understood something about us. You stood up, a look of weariness as you embraced your wife and said No. It’s not her fault. She snapped her neck towards you. You were pursuing her? You looked at the pavement. You did not say yes; even in the dream you’re reluctant to admit anything. She fell to the concrete; grief turned her animal, and the sound shredded my ears until I was deaf to it. I know what that means. I turned away, but you reached out your hand. It turned into a stemless red rose. It looked heavy; the petals flaked off in the wind. Before I took it, I knew better.

Anne Champion is the author of Reluctant Mistress, a poetry collection released by Gold Wake Press in 2013. Her work appears in Verse Daily, The Pinch, Cider Press Review, PANK Magazine, The Comstock Review, Poetry Quarterly, Line Zero, Thrush Poetry Journal and elsewhere. She was a 2009 Academy of American Poets Prize recipient, a Pushcart Prize nominee and a St. Botolph Emerging Writer Grant nominee.