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Last Night I Had Such Good Dreams

by Jennifer Perrine

I woke myself up laughing, and today I went down
           to the lake and sat for an hour listening to ice
shift and break into endless shards, its creaking ceaseless,
           and I did not think of you much, or of how I am
not as good as you were at making French toast, or rice
           even, how I cooked a huge batch to last me the week
and remembered too late how you used to rinse the grains
           to keep them from sticking, so I wound up with eight cups
of thick goop, and said to myself some Asian you are,
           and when I forgave myself for fucking up the rice,
I wondered whose voice that was—yours or mine or the great
           collective mouth that hums through the cloud and thinks it knows
best how I should grieve, says get over it already,
           and just for a while this evening, after I came back
from that vast expanse of water, those brittle crystals
           splintering and coming to rest on the shore, I thought
I had—gotten over it, or you, as I gazed up
           at the full moon rising through the trees and wondered how
another month had passed, and I said out loud to that
           satellite—that desolate rock that does nothing but
orbit and reflect light and drive the tides—I said look
           how far I have come, I am still here, I have survived
the worst of it, I woke up laughing last night, when was
           the last time that happened
, and when the moon answered back
with its wild silence I realized too late I was
           never talking to the moon at all, that when I speak
to an empty place, I am always speaking to you.

Jennifer Perrine is the author of four books of poetry: Again; The Body Is No Machine; In the Human Zoo; and No Confession, No Mass. Perrine’s recent poems, stories, and essays appear in The Missouri Review, New Letters, The Seventh Wave Magazine, Buckman Journal, and The Gay & Lesbian Review. A resident of Portland, Oregon, Perrine co-hosts the Incite: Queer Writers Read series, teaches creative writing, and serves as a wilderness guide.