Poem written upon waking from a nap after reading the first 18 pages of The Waves

I am greeted by a question that I haven’t yet made sense of. It sounds like an observation, but it’s actually a memory. My right forearm is actually still waking up, the divots in my skin line up with a tattoo of a wave so that the texture looks permanent. The texture of lying down isn’t actually permanent, though one day it will be. This is actually the second instance of waking. During the first, I heard three sentences, not one, and none of them questions. I knew they were meant to end something. A short prose thing, perhaps. I consider the short prose thing to be, of course, the ocean: thing I trust immensely though our relationship occurs only at the edges. Thing I am forced to love through its surfaces alone. Thing I visit most often in memory. There’s nothing prose about it, actually.

I visit Virginia Woolf in memory. By the second instance of waking, I have forgotten everything about the first. I do not write a short prose thing injected with dream language. I do change my name, and the court order is signed by a man: John Wolf. I do not tell the HR department at work about all the changes occurring in my life. I do not dream anymore about the brick building in which my elementary school classes sometimes took place, the center of the floor dug up for unnamed construction purposes and the wolves they unearthed in the process, some night of the living dead but with animals, but with animals that did not look gross or changed and only appeared to be realistically ferocious yet ground-dwelling animals, chasing me to my untimely death, signified by a single color—red—and the dream’s sudden ending. I do dream about my job. My boss greets me like the edge of an ocean she has no reason to sail. 


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