Daughter I wake to discover, “bolt
upright” in bed, not the one I laid you in,
quite a night you’ve had, some fight
with the lions in your den. Bombed out
porcupine hairdo daughter, are you
all right? I don’t like the sound of that
chain smoke rasp in your voice,
the husky cowboy ghost possessing you.
I tell my computer to sleep and lie down
beside it. Tiny gears go on whirring.
A little while clicks off. Trombone tock
of the train station clock, comings
and goings, gongs in the valley
of the temple, the dimple in my skull.
Coffee in the tilted mug spreads a brown oval. Wind rifles through the maple’s green handbag. I would never insert at random the seasick faces of Thomas Jefferson in Lili’s purse as she believes I would. Since the night of the robbery, I have kept my wallet out of the glove compartment because I have had no wallet to keep. My canceled cards return to me in the mail, singly, like a scattered flock of geese I slip from folds of leather, birds of a feather, whenever I meet a fellow poet for coffee. I used to believe Starbucks served a variety of blends but now all they ever seem to have is Pike Place, so I just order that. You’d think I’d learn not to set my mug on the narrow wicker armrest but that’s just not how I work. I don’t learn. Not really. You’d think I’d believe her when Lili shows me the video on her phone, but nobody believes they snore when they sleep because they’re asleep when they snore.
Winter Storm Brain Scan
In this dream I wake up to pre-medicate
for the wake, the black trees
wedding gowned, brides in the fallout
from radiation. Imagine me
prancing insensate though this brain
snow in my birthday suit, my suite
the trundling insides of the machine
shop loud with elbow grease and blood
redacting the sentence of my death.
Hear me out in bloops and bleeps
naked groom getting ready to denude
the dead bird, a black suit sliding
bullet through the chamber, the magnetic
tube of resonant mechanical waves.
Cameron Morse is Senior Reviews editor at Harbor Review and the author of eight collections of poetry. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is The Thing Is (Briar Creek Press, 2021). He holds an MFA from the University of Kansas City-Missouri and lives in Independence, Missouri, with his wife Lili and (soon, three) children. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.