You come from a tropical country so when people go on about the sun coming out, you smile and nod your head without understanding. But then it gets cold. In April. And you need the heater;it feels bizarre to need one. You tell your friend this and she says,”If it’s cold in bloody April, of course you need the heater. What are you saying?”

When the sun does come out, you go cycling and sit on the banks of the river. A three-year-old with startling blue eyes walks up to you and says, “Hello.” You smile at her. Her parents, a couple in their mid-thirties, are sitting right in front of you. They kiss and there is something about this kiss that has everything, you think, to do with the earth in relation to the sun.

“I don’t even know if ‘love’ is the word for it,” you tell your friend later. He laughs and says, “Well, okay, if you don’t think love is just being where you are. Did you think As if to demonstrate an eclipse was just a great drunk poem?”

 

Dreams
Wislawa Szymborska

Despite the geologists’ knowledge and craft,
mocking magnets, graphs, and maps—
in a split second the dream
piles before us mountains as stony
as real life.

And since mountains, then valleys, plains
with perfect infrastructures.
Without engineers, contractors, workers,
bulldozers, diggers, or supplies—
raging highways, instant bridges,
thickly populated pop-up cities.

Without directors, megaphones, and cameramen—
crowds knowing exactly when to frighten us
and when to vanish.

Without architects deft in their craft,
without carpenters, bricklayers, concrete pourers—
on the path a sudden house just like a toy,
and in it vast halls that echo with our steps
and walls constructed out of solid air.

Not just the scale, it’s also the precision—
a specific watch, an entire fly,
on the table a cloth with cross-stitched flowers,
a bitten apple with teeth marks.

And we—unlike circus acrobats,
conjurers, wizards, and hypnotists—
can fly unfledged,
we light dark tunnels with our eyes,
we wax eloquent in unknown tongues,
talking not with just anyone, but with the dead.

And as a bonus, despite our own freedom,
the choices of our heart, our tastes,
we’re swept away
by amorous yearnings for—
and the alarm clock rings.

So what can they tell us, the writers of dream books,
the scholars of oneiric signs and omens,
the doctors with couches for analyses—
if anything fits,
it’s accidental,
and for one reason only,
that in our dreamings,
in their shadowings and gleamings,
in their multiplings, inconceivablings,
in their haphazardings and widescatterings
at times even a clear-cut meaning
may slip through.

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