Dark Dream

2

One night at twenty-one, in a cramped

newlywed apartment, Florida heat slowly

draining from the blistered asphalt outside,

I dreamed of my sister. She was almost

seventeen, then. I missed our life

in my parents’ house, and our younger sister,

doll-small, who at four was riding always

our hips and shoulders. I missed too

the suffocation of family I’d traded

for the mystery of marriage, sleep

with a man replacing my usual sleep:

three sisters piled in together, though we

each had a bed of our own, elbows and knees

flung everywhere. We were cranky and sore

in the mornings, but more miserable apart.

In my dream my sister stood in our doorway,

 

her sun-streaked hair lank as seaweed,

her brown eyes flattened, sunk

in a phantasm of death, skin grayed and visible

only through gaps in torn, dull-black cloth.

She never said what she had become,

only warned me not to follow her, a message

she relayed with distaste, even indifference,

and that I received with a barren horror.

What haunted me most when I awoke

in the humid morning heat, my back unjabbed

by my new husband’s knee, was not whether

I dreamed my sister dead, or even damned—

most ghastly was that our dream-selves had not

loved one another. How strange that now,

of all hellish things that could have happened,

this end of love is the one that did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Becky Wetherington

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About Author

Amie Sharp lives with her husband and dog Sigmund in Colorado, where she teaches English at Pikes Peak Community College. She previously taught high school in Tampa, Florida. Her publications include the Bellevue Literary Review, the 2River View, and the New Formalist, among others. She has been featured poet for KRCC’s Poem of the Day and guest speaker for Poetry West. A native of Tennessee, she holds an MA from the University of South Florida and an MFA from Seattle Pacific University.

2 Comments

  1. Lale Davidson on

    The last line, a clincher that follows image if indifference, hits home and captures the grief I feel at the end of love between my siblings. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. I also enjoy the accessibility of the poem.

  2. Dear Amie: The force of this and the hard truth blows me away in a way that is reminiscent of my reaction to the first time I heard your poetry, years ago. I am more captivated than ever by what are up to these days and look forward to more.

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