abstract dream



A risk-taker, I've never mastered
the art of protection

as a tree defends itself
against a giraffe
with bitter tannen that stops forage
and warns downwind
of danger. Or as a trout
hooked in a river
releases pheromones to alert
those swimming downstream.

Your reflexes, the fisherman warned,
slow down as you get older.

He was not speaking of fishing,
of course. But I,
disarmed by a taste for intensity,
less savvy than
trout or tree, forgot
to prepare myself for pain.
Even an old giraffe
remembers to browse upwind.



From the lunar plexus I arose like a hungry trout
and was caught fast on the sharp barbed hook
that hangs inside all once-beautiful-faces.
– Leonora Carrington

In magnetic air, my self or shadows of it,
the body a ballast for the head,
as I, smiling mask dragging an afghan body,
knit a new face from cosmic wool.

A three-dimensional life is formed by attitude.

You want what I have, so I must sheer
invisible sheep, comb and card
the fleece, twist the thread, ply needles,
then teach you how to do the same.

All done with mist and a mirror or two.

Still, don't expect to touch flesh. This wool
is thin, porous, soft but without affect
and, its anxious thread tugged by
an unseen hook, keeps on unravelling.

NATURAL DEFENSES, Susan Terris (Marsh Hawk Press, 2004)