The Dream by Aracelis Girmay

Last night, all night
the dream, the dead
mother, my small sister,
tiny, her mouth
over my shoulder
(screaming) like a knapsack
when she heard the news,
& my brother playing
the stereo. I howled
like the coyotes; myself.
& saw the light outside
below the window, my mother,
young, playing with me
at a rock, in some sunlight
falling over us. I was small.
An old & famous woman
asked her questions:
Who wrote this dream?
I wanted to know.
My brother thought
it was our mother
who wrote it
when she was old.
She did not die, he thought.
But I knew, & called down
to the cotton-head of her then, when
she could not see or hear me.
She would never hear me.
I was not capable of talking
then, yet, & she had died,
after all, & the mother
I call to tell the dream
will not remember, after all
she was not born then, yet,
& needed the first mother to die
before she could use her name
& feed her children.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56718/the-dream-56d2397aea737

Date: 2011

By: Aracelis Girmay (1977- )

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