I am strapped to a surgical table.
Auburn, naked, impossibly beautiful.
A thousand hat pins bloom from the back
of my throat. I can’t speak but still try
to say I’m sorry to the surgeon.

I wake up convinced there is someone
in the room. Try to scream, to move
but I can’t. I feel hands on my waist, and
remember. You. It is possible to wake up
not alone and have it be a good thing.

In another dream, wolves surround my childhood
home. I stab one, and red marble coats
the creature. In this one, Jan is dead
and we throw the couch in the river.
In this one the house is there, painted
that ugly beige color.

In this one, my sister’s dead body
on a cement island. In this one, I climb
ladders and ladders to get to a ransacked hotel
room. In this one, I am in a sidecar detached
on a road in Ohio I know has been closed
for years. In this one, you are engaged. In this

one, you are dead. In this one, I wake up
and can’t see you. In this one, the knife in my bed
cuts us both. In this one you aren’t there. No,
I’m awake, small scratches down my face as if

from hat pins, or my own fingers.
No hands on me, just the shadow disappearing
around the corner as I force myself to scream.

Nightmare by Anna Binkovitz

Photo credit