Hour Twenty   Bowel seized, Iron Maiden, tailbone swinging like a trap door.   Stuck in this swamp I bathe in my juices. Early afternoon melts   hardwood into honeyed strips. I have douched enough, fermented in sauce   of amniotic piss, the drug of heat has worn. I am combustible. Walls coat ashen, baptized.   Each breath a rubber limb shackled. Deflated bladder in its smooth plastic.   I should have passed this cocoon hours ago, like a gallstone. Instead   this baby calcifies, travels blind, lithos sarcophagos. There should be an urge to push. I feel nothing   but the hip shatter of my bones, the pectin pulp of belly. Knees   jut the surface, hands tether. Extraction. Inner curdle of gut. Shudder along   the abdominal fault line. Aftershock. Thighs sputter.   I want my sister. Where is my sister? Her slumped shadow another tomb   four thousand kilometers south and three years past. I teetered   on the rocking chair in the next room, watched edges of the sky pink.   There was nothing I could do for her. Alone in her trough. Just as I am.   It comes. Strains of cell, tendon, sinew, my love for you blanches.   Booze of light moves through the shades. Time is still linear. Fuck.       Ghost Ship   According to neurobiology, in a lucid dream, the first thing that happens is that the dreamer recognizes they are dreaming. When the area of the brain that is usually off during sleep is activated the recognition of dreaming occurs, the dreamer must be careful to let the dream delusions continue but be conscious enough to recognize them.                                                   -Lidia Yuknavitch     A ghost ship sails along English Bay. A sister life. The one you could have chosen, had you not chosen this. An embryo dislodges from its web of inertia. Run along the sea wall, choke on heaving lungs. One kilometer left. Taste sea and brine. You burrow your face there. This might be a dream. You can recognize it for what it is. Dislodge yourself from sleep. According to neurobiology, in a lucid dream, the first thing that happens is that the dreamer recognizes they are dreaming.   A thousand hands wave, flutter of wings. Sun refracts off a broken sail, the ship howls a lost language. It is the next morning. Pull on a pair of jeans. Skip the shower. Pee. Measure honey into a mug of boiling water. Wool hat over greasy hair. The rain; a life both fixed and unfixed. Sip and gaze, gulls on the balcony, overripe heirlooms. When the area of the brain that is usually off during sleep is activated the recognition of the dreaming occurs.   He comes home after lunch. Over leftovers, he asks for results. We’re going to South Korea, you sing, pack your bags. We’re going to teach five-year-olds how to tell their age, when their birthdays are. Let’s not base our lives on equations. Ripen heartache from teeth. Walk our burdens into the light. The dreamer must be careful to let the dream delusions continue.   The heart is slippery. It thirsts for a fresh body, an uncontaminated taste. We unlearn the rawness of hours, the circadian rhythm of the dream state. How to rupture pure will; crouch over the bowl, a bouquet of waste blooms. The dream’s job is birth. The dreamer must cast a tender longing. Decisions are a spook of running water. Be still while ghosts stream along your thighs but be conscious enough to recognize them.
Adrienne Gruber is the author of the full-length poetry collection This is the Nightmare (Thistledown Press) and three chapbooks, Mimic (Leaf Press), Everything Water (Cactus Press), and Intertidal Zones (Jack Pine Press). Mimic was awarded the 2012 BpNichol Chapbook award. Her second full-length poetry collection, Buoyancy Control, is forthcoming with BookThug in 2016. She’s usually found hiking in North Vancouver with her daughter Q.