In an apple dream, you are mostly made
of water. You are swimming in the orchard
when the bear arrives to eat you.
You are mostly weeds. In a dream
that takes place creek-side, I have learned
to climb tall trees. I watch for your arrival
like I watch for bears, who avoid their baits
like they avoid the water. They have forgotten
how to swim. A different dream warns
of drowning: a branch breaks, so I fall
not onto you but another. There are no fruits
left in the orchard, so bears scavenge
for wasp nests, for roots, their paw prints
on the apple trail, flat-footed & fresh.
Instead of bears, a bobcat tracked
across the yard & I had tried to bake
a cobbler. Picked berries from pokeweed,
struggled against vines. If a grackle
was catching up to me, I had set a trap
of thistle & string. Drew a forest map
& nothing was to scale. Drew triangles
to indicate trees. You were close enough
or just across the lake or waxing.
Drew a field to indicate your hands.
If barefoot, my feet were crushing
thrush’s eggs, had trampled nettle beds.
A burr remembered seeing you,
so stayed tangled in my hair.
You did not grow like a field or a grove
of longleaf pine. You were not rooted.
Where a cone flower swayed, you
did not. You did not cause a dusting
of seedpods. A bark or the sharp walls
of a gully contained neither your face
nor your specter. You were not a wind
or its blowing on my cheek. When a rain
came, you were not falling. You were
not washing through my hair. When a bird
sang, it did not sound like you saying
home, home, here I am. There were small
hills where your eyes should have been.
There was a constant shudder of leaves.