Recalled from childhood, a dream
a nightmare, a bear, towering
enveloping me in my crib
forearms crushing my face to his furred chest
and the struggle to find air.
Another, in adolescence, beautiful
silent, perhaps foretelling an unfurling to come,
a peacock spreading his colors above the backyard fence.
These edges were sharp, defined
memorable still despite the intervening years,
leaving no doubt that they were dreams.
In midlife, two new dreams began unspooling
over and over, looping frequently.
In one my legs would fail, suddenly,
crumpling me like a rag doll
limp on the floor, unnoticed by the passing world.
In the other I could bound, spring upward
gazelle-like , untethered from gravity.
I paid them no heed.
Those dreams no longer visit.
Somehow, I failed to read the omens,
to forsee that one dark night, I would fall,
lie crumpled on the wet earth
among the sturdy trunks of apple trees.
I did not dream that struggle to rise,
to pull myself up, the fall again
and again and yet again
until beginning the creep
toward the familiar path, dragging my fear
toward the safe and lamp bright house.
Now, nearing eighty, I read that elders have vivid dreams.
When I wake in the night, I am not frightened
of what I cannot see or do not know.
Dreams cling like webs, must be brushed away
before, awake, I take my uncertain steps.
I am not afraid of dreams.
I am afraid of falling and failing to rise.