dream meditation #9
BY JORDAN ZANDI
The evolving scrawl
that looked as if it were about to form
Now we’re entering the cloister-garden.
The melons still sprawl the western quadrant, and here,
next to the refectory, two rows of vetch remain un-
I see we’ve lost the tomato plants.
Inside each yellow-green bag, the Japanese beetles
swim with discrete activity.
Woke up today and remember nothing. V beside me,
my alarm not yet gone off.
Today it’s Sunday.
We sit on the front porch, Sundays. The porch-swing
carries our feet aloft.
It’s late. Then hurrying footsteps . . .
and overhearing, inside the nave, the chaplain say to the
Of course they want salvation—
Question: Am I dreaming?
Midwestern sunrise, wherein the sun bullies its way up
out of the mantle
impressing the mind with the idea of an actual passage.
But, here—If I step in this shadow . . . poof! Even the
sun can’t see me.
Went for a walk together this evening. Talked of the
difference between guilt and shame. V says shame
needs others and their expectations, guilt an inner value
Were on that path beside the pond near the old filtering
plant; don’t know why, but remembered a scene.
Near the abbey’s exterior wall we find a greenhouse,
wherein we talk with the herbalist’s girl. She shows us
Darlingtonia Californica, the pitcher plant.
Confusing its prey with a pattern of speckles it leads an
insect deeper into the painful throat of the plant itself—
Behind the cash register, the abbot attends his favorite
variety of pea. “These peas,” he explains, “are, like our
souls, climbing a ladder to perfection,” though he adds
that the space between each rung is many generations.
Natura non facit saltum, he says.
Nature does not make leaps.
I’d had no intention of taking the fruit, yet when I found
myself assembled in the fruit tree’s branches, there it
was all before me. In this order: green, red, yellow,
green. Taking whole clumps, I felt my mouth turn
There’s a man anchored inside a cleft of the chapel wall,
and a little brass placard attached near the door reads
OPEN FOR SERVICE.
This dream, so I’ve had it before—
watching gravity bow the head down, exposing the
circle of thorns; how the lines of the shoulders, flexed,
align with each trapezius, before drawing up to the
nape: The shape of an unstrung bow.
V wakes and turns me over, pointing my belly toward
the moon. She inserts her index into my navel, and it
goes straight through me.
She says for years we’ve told ourselves we have to solve
ourselves: A key in a box in a tunnel through a door one
finds at the end of the dream.
I say for ‘solve,’ substitute ‘fix.’ Like a door,
but no hinges.
Once, I say, there was no need for fix.
She says that’s a real self-cruelty.
A knock at the door.
He (our eldest teacher) will take my confession, the two
of us, the privacy of the vestry.
We must see to my soul
to make no doubt
of its destiny.
The two of us.
We in the vestry.
A white page:
Behind me, the light of a place moves further away,
until tired, I stop under a low-hanging crab-apple.
I consider the crab-apple: a sour fruit; but a comfortable
When I look at the sky,
I see light and solidity.
Jordan Zandi is the author of Solarium (Sarabande Books, 2016), named by both The New York Times and The New Yorker as one of the best poetry books of the year.
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