Did you know that dreams are the scars of memory?
They prompt us to take one more look at the houses
of our childhood, the graves and the hiding
places we believed we grew out of. Remember
the things you said you’d never do again? You
will do them in your night terrors. You will do them
in the dreams of past lovers. You will do them
in the presence of your dead parents. It is
the nature of dreams to tickle and torture
your sleep with regrets. My mother would say
she died of loneliness which I supported by
never being there. After a while, in fact,
I could hardly bear to pass through the town where
she lived. My father would say the same—that I
stayed away, did not call, did not care.
I don’t know why any more than they did.
I dream of them almost nightly. I swim
clumsily through a thick, salty sea of regret
to live once again in their house with them.
In dreams, as in memory, seeing them,
depending on them, scares and saddens me.
In my dreams,
I cannot leave.
I have forgotten all the trivia I used to keep track of,
and I have kept the desperately important things
at the forefront of my mind:
What was the color of the clouds that day?
Did the ocean and the sand smell of sex, of perspired touches?
How did kites become involved?
There was salt on your tongue and in my hair. I thought
if immortality was offered to me at that moment, I would take it.
Was I supposed to care that we were Gomorra? I didn’t.
You devoured me, declared me alive, marveled at my paleness.
The evening you stiffened at my touch, I knew to exit quickly.
I did not leave so much as a lipstick or an earring with you.
I think maybe a little smoke from my inflamed spirit
remained at your table, but even that was invisible to all.
When I explained all this to Sadie, she grasped her head
and teared up. “My girl,” she said, “you were invisible all along
and you never knew it. Curl your hands around themselves. Don’t
remember anything else. You were invisible then. You’re a ghost now.”
Martina Reisz Newberry’s books: Never Completely Awake (Available now from Deerbrook Editions), Take the Long Way Home (Available now from Unsolicited Press), Where It Goes (Deerbrook Editions), Running Like a Woman with Her Hair on Fire (Red Hen Press). Her work has been widely published in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian, a media creative.