Amy Speace Pinecone

Dream #1: Hope

I had a dream when I was awake
That I was floating in a circle of taller than tall cedars
Sequoia’s, most likely, although I’ve only been in a grove of Sequoia’s once or twice
Sequioas are not my tree
But they were so tall I could not see the tops of them and they covered the sky
Red bark like feathers hanging down, frayed
The forest floor in the circle was red and brown pine needles
Heather: that color that trees and bushes turn in late November before the first snow in Indiana
Brown-red so soft you could lay your cheek against in sleep
The kind of undercolor I’d like to wrap around my skin, a neutral to balance, a cashmere dress clinging to my long dancer body

If I had a long dancer body

I was floating in a circle of taller than tall burnt umber cedars
On my back, my hands and arms out
But airbound
In a gossamer gown made of pale blue
My hair was not my hair
It was the hair of my dreams: reddish gold, long ropey curls, my skin

I was floating

And I held to the center of my chest a pinecone
A single pinecone pointing up at the sky shaded by the trees by the cedars in a circle of women in a dance in that sculpture that holds candles and feathers on altars at yoga studios and new age bookstores

This image emerged from the black behind my eyes
In a meditation
She is me she is Snow White in that blue dress with the blonde hair updone in a white plastic hair band
She is a little girl holding the ferns with her grandmother

She is alone with a pinecone

I was floating in a circle of taller than tall trees
Half awake and dreaming

The pinecone was a seed and the seed was a dream and the dream was a child in a storm and the dream became a face in a backwards image of heathered browns and purples and burnt umber dusk that I kept on my desk as my belly grew swollen and heavy until I bore a child that was that face that was that seed

That is you

And you sit on my chest and stare at the taller than tall trees that sway outside our window and you smile down at me from your resting perch
As if the world could be a nest of tall cedars made of feathers of Crayola colors and birdsong and the dreams of your mother who once dreamt of you as faraway as the shadings of the sequoia

Dream #2: Song

Mother is a country
A little land in the middle of an ocean
Where the edge of the sand is swallowed by a dream

An island in the milky way
Sleepwalking the swell of the waves
Up and down floating out to sea

Mother is a country
A pebble pile of glass and shell
That make a nest of stars and fallen leaves

No one hears the prayers that sing
Like whispers in the mossy moonlight
Nightly watches spent on rocking knees

Hush now baby don’t you weep
Close your eyes I’ll rock you back to sleep
Mother is a country

Mother is a country
Where tidepools fill when gravity calls
The sun and moon to take their place in line

Peace was made with the storms that came
Arms were laid at the foot of the harbor
A betting on the wrecking ball of night

Mother is a country
A whale beached in the brine of the shallows
Counting her breath while laying on her side

And the needle drips and the voices blur
The pull of bones and he slips to earth
She knows she’ll grieve the separating life
She knows she’ll grieve the separating life

Looo la leee
Hush now baby don’t you weep
Close your eyes I’ll rock you back to sleep
Mother is a country

Dream No. #3: Fear

I had a dream where my son was a piece of raw fish. Red, like tuna, like sashimi. A large piece, one I could cradle in my arms. No one knew it was my son, a baby, a human. They would just see the fleshy familiarity of Japanese food, an urban thing. Something exotic. And I could see them shake their heads as if to say, ‘Oh, Amy, she’s so eccentric with her sushi and her New Yorkyness”.  I was holding my son who was raw tuna, cradling it/him from harm, in a home that resembled the home my family had in the 80’s, from junior high through high school graduation, the last home of my childhood, in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania, in a town that held pretensions it didn’t deserve from wealth it stole from the land it raped of taller than tall trees and shade. A town of old money from a logging boom where the children of the children of the parents who’d clear cut the forests would inherit the construction businesses built from that wealth and then, in the mid 2000’s, sell their land to Texas oil companies who had come to dig the ground for natural gas, ruining the fields, bringing toxic water and disease, making the rich richer and the poor just angry. The same town I knew I’d leave from the minute I stepped my 12 year old feet on its soil.

In my dream, I held my son the fish while looking for a bag that held my shampoo, a small zippered thing of blue and white herringbone that I’d bought at Target a few years back, room enough for travel sized toiletries. That I had just seen but couldn’t seem to find now that my brother was finished lingering in the shower and it was my turn. I thought I’d seen my sister-in-law, the drunk sweet daughter of the American revolution, a Burr, or a Hamilton, I could never remember which, but she’d qualified to be present every year at the redueling on the Weehawken cliffs overlooking the Hudson in her matching cashmere sweater sets, her red button nose and smart blonde haircut. I swore she knew where my bag was and was lying when I asked her. “No, I swear, I haven’t seen it, have you Josie?” she asked her copycat daughter, a mean little thing, 10 years old with sharp angles and edges and lizard eyes who surprised me when she’d turn soft and needy, wrapping her arms around me and cooing “Aunty”.  I didn’t trust them, both of them, amphibious creatures, slithering around my childhood home. My mammalian sister, ever cheerful was downstairs making things, or doing dishes, or generally just taking care of everything and everyone around this holiday. She was our true north and I know she knows this and I’m not sure she likes this but she accepts this. She’d be the only one who would see, really see the sashimi son as a human and she’d take him and protect him while I showered. But I couldn’t find the bag and without the bag I couldn’t shower and I was terrified to put the meat of the fish down as I knew the dog would eat it, pull it apart, or the lizards may throw it away, or worse, play with it and eat it. NO one could be trusted with my son, now a piece of fleshy skin, exposed to my past. My heart was caving in on itself every minute I carried him not as human. He was dying or he was sick or he needed something else, and I couldn’t figure it out, so I just carried him from room to room, cooing at him. I felt like I hadn’t spent enough time with him as a baby, a real baby with real peachy skin that began as raw red skin straight from the womb, a bit crinkled and closed up, fresh from the slit of my stomach, wiped off and swaddled and placed between my breasts in a recovery room that was loud and very very cold. I shivered and I was falling backwards still, just like I was during his delivery and I couldn’t reach the now, I was a beat or two behind what was happening and I wanted to catch up to purge the drugs from my spine to come back out of the rabbit hole so that I could see things clearly so that I could remember what was happening as it was happening in real time not in molasses time, like on that yellow and brown plaid couch in that Bowery apartment, sinking into a heroin high. I wanted to see him in that moment again, that first moment he was mine, all mine, out of my womb out of my mangled abdomen as they tugged and pulled and now stapled and glued me back to whole. My little sashimi boy, raw and exposed to the nerve of the world. And me, pacing my adolescent home, hiding my only son, who chose me, part mermaid, part crone.  I couldn’t hold that slithery piece of flesh close enough to protect him. I knew that. And I wandered lost and alone through my dreamscape, terrified to watch the inevitable, when he would slip away into the folds of the seawater sky.


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