My husband dreams he’s working in a field where he finds
an enormous tree, so huge it takes several people to surround
its trunk. He wants to go home, get his camera, get his wife,
he can’t do this without walking on a neighboring property
though he tries not to. He’s stopped by the owner, argues with
him, insists there’s a ruling that people can use this path, but
the neighbor says no, won’t let him pass. My husband protests
he’s almost ninety years old, he wants to go get his camera,
get his wife who’s almost eighty. He’s so angry at the injustice
of it that he starts to weep, wakes up weeping. As he tells me
the dream there are omissions, subtleties, patterns, leaps. As
in all our interactions, interfaces we create facing each other,
we listen to others and hear only ourselves. Listening to his
account, I want him to have dreamt he convinced the neighbor,
found me, brought me to see the tree. I want to be with him
when he sees it, believe I understand what he has found, faced.
In the Museum Courtyard
Boys turn cartwheels on the grass under a sky
of massing clouds. I wish I weren’t here. I’d like
to be on the front porch on Tonawanda Street,
sitting on the glider with my husband, watching
for the coming thunderstorm. It’s come to this.
Durer doesn’t move me. The tiny Van Gogh
sower does. Degas’ painting of his father and
a younger man, musician playing a guitar. Their
faces. The willow in the corner is swaying, tossing
its long branches. The courtyard’s emptying slowly.
An airplane overhead, birds, two young women
talking softly at a nearby table. “It’s just these
two wires,” a workman says. “Okay, give them
a shot.” Is it enough to have looked hard at one
painting I don’t remember having seen before?
The tumbling boys have gone inside. Now that
human young have left the courtyard, the birds
are louder. I don’t think there’s going to be
a storm. Not here and now. Here and now
is always when and where there is a storm.