The dreams accumulate.

In one, I see you rowing across

a wide river, the current

taking you farther downstream

than you choose. I wave,

my hand is a dove that would

lead you to shore, but you

are angry, fighting the water,

and do not see me.

Another has us in a hospital,

whispering. We are there

to visit someone I used to know

but have not seen for years.

You smoke cigarettes in the lobby

while I search the roster

for his name. When we learn

he’s dead, I am sad with relief,

the way a mother feels

when her last child marries.

I go to the second floor

to look at the babies.

When I come back, you’ve gone.

In the last one, I am

trying on hats. Finally I find

a big straw one I love,


with a long black ribbon.

I wear it to meet you,

but as I walk outside

the wind begins to blow,

skips the hat away

like a perfect flat stone.

I chase it all the way down

to the beach

where it floats out of sight

on the tide.