Field Notes

The rules: in the dream you are thin as cursive. In the cursive, you are lettering want. Still as an X, you have also learned irrelevance. Disuse. The photo of your mother at a beach. Her lookable body. The blood on the chair that looks like an ending. The ending that looks like a soft place to land. In the dream you will notice the hedges. The way the trees, on the island, are shaped by the wind: their necks twisted back like little girls & misery: put out of. In the misery, you will climb like a tree. Here is the steadying arm. Here is the dream, washing her hair in the river. This is the law of the wild: the river doles out favors. When you learn to ask, you learn to swim. When you learn to forgive, you learn to swim away.

Cutting a flat rock into sheets of sharp, listening to the way a shaving almost sounds like a bell. Trying to use one’s hands. My brother carries buckets of water long distances & never cowers. I have not yet learned this persistence. Today I read about the traces of a hurricane: hundreds of horses, dead by letting. Swarms of mosquitoes gathering. Today I wrote a letter, and felt some similar draw of blood. Because I am lonely, I am always shying away from the mirror.

My grandmother told me once, all girls grow up to be women who know how to let their fingers dry. Plucking the stem from a cherry, she makes me a reprimand. Tells me I am crooked in my want. Then again, I have lied. There was never a cherry. My grandmother told me: all girls grow up to be women who know how to lie.

Today they found a body in the river, tangled up like cursive. We dragged on the news like smoke. Yet another woman lost. I think about the way I never told my mother of the second man to touch me without asking. In fact, I never told anyone. But for years after, I’m said to have said in my sleep, Where did I put the knife? When I have headaches, I bear them. Or else I take tiny pills I imagine are Christmas lights. I am afraid of Christmas. I am not afraid of dreams. My grandmother told me once: all girls grow up to be women, and I lied: in my sleep I never say a word. I imagine I swallow that light.

In dreams I imagine myself giving things away. In dreams I imagine walking into that river. Saying what I’m saying now: here. I am telling you. Because I am lonely, I am always looking for signs.

More from A. D. Lauren-Abunassar:

Harvest,” a poem