A Place in the Music
Once, in a dream that wasn’t a dream, I saw them walking away from me. Or not away, but just ahead. All my dead beloveds in a shiver of silvery wind. They knew I was following, and kept on. Arms linked, walking side-by-side on a road between fields of waist-high grass. The wind tossing their hair and the hems of the flowered dresses the women wore. Some uncle or other, still a boy, running after the rest — was that joy? And what it said to me, this picture in my mind, was to not be afraid: that it’s only a kind of magic, death, and the story is rich, the story goes on. I was behind them, watching them walk into the wind, when I heard the hum beginning inside me— a place in the music, high and sweet — as if they were singing or also heard the song I’d begun to hear, and were glad. And loved me still. The sky that silver, too. Although none of them turned around.
My mother’s dreams were dreams of her children being carried away by a storm. Six of us — where is the seventh? — tied by our waists with a rope to her waist; a daisy- chain of bodies too light to land, we unfurled in the wind. She said it was always spaghetti that kept her awake. She said Italian food spelled nightmares and my father used to work those tepid hours until dawn. How was I blessed to never know my mother was so afraid?
Until one morning I crept out and saw them sitting on the front steps of the house, the light still gray above their heads. My mother in her flowered summer duster and my father in his uniform, dark blue. She must have called him home from work. He must have come — leaving the noise of the runway, the silver monsters we all loved, the DC9’s, the cargo planes, the tools so certain in his hands — just to hold her while she cried. To whisper here like this: Shhh, the kids are all in bed. They’ll be all right.
All but one, who was standing there watching through the screen door, terrified, loved. Knowing that anything could happen, suddenly, knowing the clock on the stove was turned to a time I couldn’t tell. Dream time. Their coffee cups. And the way she fit like a blossom into the blossom of his arms. And how I felt the nightmare wind already coming up and couldn’t warn them, and how weightless I’ve become.
Cecilia Woloch is the author of six collections of poems, most recently Carpathia (BOA Editions 2009) and Earth, winner of the 2014 Two Sylvias Press chapbook prize. Tzigane, le poème Gitan, the French translation of her second book, Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem, was also published in 2014. Her novella Sur la Route is just out from Quale Press. Recent honors include the Indiana Review Prize for Poetry and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Cecilia teaches independently throughout the U.S. and around the world.
Photo ©Richard Beban