I walk through an uneven field of hills and dales
above a river flowing to a sea in the nearby distance.
I follow a woman I can’t see,
but know very well.
I turn to my left and see her below me,
sprinting the other way, heading
for the west-stretching river.
She runs easily, intent on her stride.
She wears a grey sweater over a red shirt;
her strong brown legs flash beneath tan shorts.
There is no panic in her gait, only determination.
I turn my gaze away from her and her river,
knowing she is in a good place as
my following fades to a simple wander.
Suddenly, I’m at the edge of a campsite.
Tents rise in greens and greys,
where people wander freely.
A man, impossibly drunk,
runs backwards to keep from falling,
arms flailing like helicopters,
and crashes into a fence of thin boards
with an impressive thudding crack.
I hear a slurred bark of laughter as wind
bursts from his lungs.
I smile at his amusement.
A dog I somehow know jumps up
on me and we fall to the ground
in an affectionate wrestling.
I rub his ears and head as he
licks my neck with a warm tongue.
As we roll, laughing in the dust,
he turns into an odd monkey with
a bald patch on the left side of his head.
I stand, brushing the dust from my jeans
and tell him to go check on
the man who crashed the fence, but he
is intent on following me as I move on.
I come to a screen door that might
be the entrance to an aviary.
As I open it, it vanishes.
This makes me laugh.
The monkey follows.
He laughs, too, a huffing noise that
is both gentle and strange.
There are screens above us and to all sides.
I tell the monkey, again, that he
should go check on the crashed man.
His shape changes back to a dog
and he trots off the way we came.
“Nice to see you,” he says and
wears my smile like a hat.
I open another screen door,
which does not vanish,
and step into a room with a gooey brown floor.
I am barefoot, but like the feeling.
Odd shapes, the same brown
as the floor, have slid to the center of the room.
They look squishy.
I walk along the edge of the screen,
not wanting to step on them.
People sit in the room, busy
at various sewing tasks.
The talk among themselves and
do not acknowledge me.
I must be invisible.
Two mustached seals regard me with interest,
their eyes bright with veiled laughter.
At once, I realize the
squishy things are seal poop.
I do not laugh, but am also amused.
One of the seals knows me.
I offer my hand and he gently
closes his mouth on my fingers.
I feel it pinch.
As soon as the seal knows it hurts
he releases my finger, no apology needed.
“Nice to see you,” he says as I nod and
walk back into the field where I began.
I watch myself snore for a moment.
When I open my eyes I catch
the briefest glimpse of myself.