dream (counting without words)

I have, as ever, unlearned the ways of sleep. I spend my nights slowly turning into sand and digging my way through the mattress. The dawn licks me with her fingers and I am finally comfited, sweet and dry. You were in my dreams last night.

We had set up desks in the mud alongside a pond, old fashioned desks of blonde wood, arranged in columns and rows. You were leading us in something. You made your way to each desk, down the line, and as you paused at each the person seated there would count to three, one two three, each in a different language, some even blending two or three or more. It was not terribly hot, but the sun was bright. You came to me and I was crouching in my desk like an animal, all predator and grace. I lifted myself up on my arms, raising up from the seat, one, two, three times. The counting of time in the strain of the body. I wanted so badly for you to be pleased, so understand exactly what I meant, but when I tried to look at you the sun was in my eyes. So I looked down, and I saw a stream winding its way around our desks, and the sunlight playing on the water.

Somehow it was much later and I was in a rehearsal room in a vast building, done up to look like a boy’s childhood bedroom. The lights were off, the only light came through the windows looking out to the hall, where busy looking people passed by. The man I was with (not you, but he reminded me of someone we know) had lifted me up into the air, and I raised myself up higher one, two, three times.

It was later again and I was navigating through a crowded event, looking for a bathroom, not because I needed one but as an excuse to keep moving through the crowd, to see the whole space despite the many acquaintances I passed. I finally found it; the sign was a woodcut of a woman, dressed as a cowgirl. I looked around for someone to point out the lovely sign to, and you were right next to me among a throng of people. I couldn’t speak, and tried to convey how I was feeling by pushing scraps of torn white paper into a trash can, but wound up dropping my telephone in as well. I got flustered, tried to reach it, and then I looked at you, and you looked back, and I realized I didn’t need it, that I was better off without it. You leaned toward me as if to finally speak, to whisper something to me, but you stayed silent and pressed your mouth against my ear. The corner of your mouth was on my neck. We stayed this way a moment, and then you stepped back and we walked in separate directions, not looking back. I held my hand to the place where you had touched me in your silence, and it was so hot it burned my fingers.