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Gary Percesepe

Dreams of Wounds

Dreams of Wounds

If there are gods of the poor/ or furies to avenge us
Why be struck by death / instead of marriage   ~ Homer, The Odyssey


So I told her
think of it this way:
you’re my unlived life.

she said flatly, without inflection.
Her nose twitched.

I don't know what
that means,
she finally said.

I don't either,
I lied. 
But it's like

when I think of you
I'm reminded 
of how you made me
feel when we were
together, those short 
five months

or was it six?
Possibly only four.
It depends on 

whether you count 
those kisses that came
after the breakup.

Why do the best kisses
come at the end?
I wanted to know.

Because by then
you're past caring
what anyone thinks

she said in my 
unlived life, years
after the breakup.


It will always be this way,
won't it, she said.
Me insecure, you unfaithful

until we die. Or
the Cubs win the 
World Series, I said.

But the Cubs did
win the World Series,
she said.

Then let's reverse roles,
 I suggested.
I will be insecure.

I could never be
unfaithful, she said,
her bottom lip trembling.

I could be insecure
about that, I offered,
fixing my tie.

There are wounds, 
she said, and dreams
of wounds.

Both hurt, I agreed.
The sky opened for
a quarter hour

soaking us both
in the garden. I'm
scared you'll stay, she said.


If you were a poem 
you'd be called 
Better Homes and Gardens.
If you were a poem 
you'd be called 
Refresher Course,
she said. 
I said, I didn't know 
what to think of that.


I remember the first time
you came, she said.
The leaves were spun gold.

It was Autumn, I said.
Like it is now.
People were jumping from buildings.


When the poet loves
I said, quoting the poet
he loves himself.

This is not another muse lecture
is it? she asked.
Certainly not, I said.


The moon poured more 
light into the sky
yet we kept on talking

We were young enough
to believe that
each experience somehow

improved us, that all the
copperheads in the garden
were there for a purpose

not yet old enough 
to feature how the 
dead grow more dead

each night, that under 
the elms and leaves,
as the poet said

the graves grow deeper.
We cannot remember fast enough
to save ourselves.

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Gary Percesepe is the author of eleven books including GASLIGHT OPERA, a new collection of poems forthcoming from Poetry Box.


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