“Dream other dreams, and better!” from “The Mysterious Stranger” by Mark Twain
Your legs feel no pavement as they churn the air,
muscles tense while they should be at rest.
You mutter complaints in high-pitched other worldly
voices we never hear when you’re awake,
as though you’re possessed by atavistic fears—
chased by some saber-toothed tiger snapping at your heels,
or chasing a rabbit unrewarded while your
stomach rumbles with unaccustomed hunger,
you unable to close your jaws around
its throat for a taste of blood.
What do you need to have nightmares about?
What’s so tough in your dog’s life?
Don’t we allow you the use of the second-best couch?
Aren’t you well fed and loved and given freedom
for short runs in a safely fenced yard?
Dream of the satisfaction over the spite work
with which you punished us for briefly expelling
you from the heaven of our presence during piano lessons,
the soft wood of the Yankee team stacking dolls
yielding to your teeth, Jeter in splinters.