Sean Patrick Hill



Between the ash trees,
a great circle of flattened grass.
Like a table in a café where you have been served
something bitter.

In winter, it is a frozen pond.
In spring, a mirror of water
where the geese stand admiring themselves.
Finally, it is a table cleared
of coffee cups.

The geese mill around, confused.

It is to this coliseum floor the teacher comes.

The teacher holds in his hand a snake.
He kneads it and stretches it like pretzel dough.
When flattened,
it resembles a beam of polished wood.

“This,” he says, “is what you will use
to patch the wall
where the rats have gotten in.”

All night you dream of people you knew.
You recognize one—
he lives in Prague now.
He has two daughters,
and drinks beer with acquaintances
several times a week.

But now,
you see him through a window
while you are lying in bed.
The glass frosted, opaque, a two-way mirror.

You’d like to think he sees you
in bed with a beautiful woman.

You smile, and raise a finger from the tangle of sheets,
a mummy risen from its rags.

In the dream, the horses
belong to someone else.
You’ve been driving, looking for a place to bridle them.

There is a flooded parkland.
Someone wading in the dreck.
When asked what a certain notch above the water line is,
he replies, “The road in.”

In the dream,
you never actually see the horses.
Only the bitter waiter singing, beautifully.

On a street corner
you stand in pajamas,
expecting something amazing to happen.

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