You say: “Every time we close our eyes
to blink and open them again
we’re in the future, and the past
is a windblown paper bag.”

Your eyelids are clear canopies
to a cove’s opening marked by light
and dark, and the future is a scientist
collecting memory specimens.

I examine your theory, like a traveler
checking their luggage. I scroll my thoughts
to see if this is a dream or another anticipation
to the moment before we touch.

In this dream, morning is the blood
that warms us in a desert of rusted trucks
—earth feeds from their radiators
and drinks the syrupy brown water.

You continue: “If we don’t blink
the future never happens, never
lays out its blueprint, except, our eyes
will become as waterless as drought.”

I hand you a cactus flower and hope
for a meaningful conversation.
In this dream, our tongues become erasers:
when our lips touch to kiss,
everything disappears.

This is where I wake up: your body
at the edge of flames, hand-painted
minerals burn on a sill, a cracked pane,
leaves dropping, like skulls
from unraveled skin.

I don’t know how to interpret dreams
and when I woke up my dry tongue
was flailing in the air, like a grounded finch
with damaged wings; the white ceiling

is a flock of snow geese smeared across
the sky, and the future is somewhere
without us: everyone blinking, blinking.


I have seen the way a tongue
can slip out of its cage of teeth
and with insolent poison
and other toxic engagements
can bite the self-confidence
of another

Its head snaps at the air
a malicious serpent
boneless and brutal
legless and swift
I have seen the way it thickens
with anger
boils in its own slush
wields saliva like viscous whips
generating a temper that spews
hot oil voodoo and spears

And like any other forceful beast
the modus operandi is
to feed it kindness
to make it drowsy on understanding
to cozy up to its moral conscience
to stroke its disagreeable condition
and bring it down to a whisper
and while it’s panting and gasping
you slowly
shepherd it back into its cage of teeth
and give it a drink
of cold water

That one’s important
the cold water


At the circle the fountain

and the songs the spouting water croons

into the heads of clouds
or hums
as it splashes on the grass

One by one the water drops
the dust flies

and the traffic moves slowly
in circles
round and round

The water sounds like
a mute wooden bell
when its laziness sits there
in the basin


In a streak of magic
somebody tosses a penny
and the copper glow
is a footstep

hitting the water

and the light nurses
the ripples

and over there a child
louder than a mockingbird

Dah’s poetry has appeared in The Sandy River Review, Stone Voices Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Orion headless, River & South Review, Perfume River Review, Miracle Magazine, Eunoia Review, and The Muse, and is forthcoming in The Cape Rock, The Lost Coast Review, Literature Today, Poetry Pacific, Zygote in my Coffee, Red Wolf Journal, Deep Tissue Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, Dead Snakes Journal, Rose Red Review, and Digital Papercut. The author of three collections of poetry from Stillpoint Books, Dah lives in Berkeley, California where he is working on the manuscript for his fourth book.