October 13, 2008

Dreaming the Dead

Last night I was back in the Bay Area, in my little town. I was driving Sweet Potato to meet her grandma, and I decided to stop at my Nana Ivy's house. Now here's what's weird about that: Nana Ivy never lived in the Bay Area and she died a few years back. She was my great grandmother on my dad's side.

I went to her house and everyone was asleep, so I creeped in through the back door. The house was in disrepair; the roof was leaking and the walls needed paint. There were piles of stuff everywhere as if Nana Ivy had been packing or readying for a yard sale.

I walked through the kitchen, living room, and into the back bedroom where I found Nana Ivy, Aunt Donna and Aunt Sue (her daughters) all asleep on a pull-out couch. In real life, Aunt Donna died a few years back, and Aunt Sue is MIA. Nana Pat wasn't there (my grandmother, their sister) because I think my subconscious has finally let her go. My grandfather, Papa James, was there though, asleep in a chair. They all woke up and were happy to see me despite the lateness of the hour.

I was so frazzled I couldn't think straight. I needed to take Sweet Potato to her grandmother, and I needed to explain to Papa James who I was because he has dementia, and my cell phone kept ringing, and I was running out of time.

Then Aunt Donna put her hands on my shoulders and looked down at me, "Let me look at ya for a second," she said. "It's been so long," and she pulled me into a big warm hug that felt like home. It's strange to compare, but in the dream I had the same feeling I have when I nurse Buckaroo; a wave of sleepiness comes over me, and I think there's nowhere I need to be except right here right now.

I didn't wake up sad this time, surprisingly, just a little annoyed that my dad hadn't been there, too.

And on that note, here's a poem that my friend Peter the Reporter emailed me:

The Dead

The dead are always looking down on us, they say.
While we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.
They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
and when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a long afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,
which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents, for us to close our eyes.

Billy Collins

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful poem.
I glad you're finding the love you need to be at peace. It's hard sometimes to remember how much we're loved, when we're curled up in a ball, defending ourselves from the impending acorns of our little lives. Maybe we should all take more naps! Relax, unwind and let our loved ones both near and far replentish whatever's depleated. Sweet dreams, FMF