You walked all night to beat the cold
so now you drowse on a sunlit bit of sidewalk
legs sprawled, head lolling on your knapsack
backed against a facade of patterned tile
Your eyesballs move behind your eyelids
but your face is slack and inward turning.
Surely your dream is not here on the avenue,
hassled by corporate cops, muttered at
by passers-by who must detour around you
as they scan store windows for a way
to spend their money.
Where do you dream?
Do you toss a football to the brother lost in 'Nam'
Weave a mysterious plot that's fraught
with dream significance?
Walk a shaded path you know but can't say where?
Will you remember when you're wakened
by the grip on your shoulder
and the order to move on?
No. Dreams like that escape like noonday ghosts
You stumble to your feet,
grit grinding where your elbows met the sidewalk,
limbs still leaden with fatigue
mind struggling to retain the dream
where lost loves linger—
even your own lost self.
Phyllis Sterling Smith