Tanya Knows that Dreaming Is Dangerous
Tanya’s on the curb waiting for the bus when a line of water gutters down the road. When she was a kid she’d float paper boats in run-off and dream about riding them wherever they went, maybe to the sea and then to China. Today, she rips dandelion blossoms from the grass around her to see them float away.
She’s seen too much to imagine drifting to Asia. Instead, they wash up in Long Beach next to spent 40s cans. Maybe she’ll sleep there tomorrow. She can smell the harbor, taste the booze that will help to stop her dreams.
Tim Dreams of Rain
Tim’s in the automatic car wash when he drifts into a memory of a childhood road trip when it was raining so hard his pop had to pull over, and Tim knew the old man knew how to be safe and how to fix things, and basically everything. Tim could relax and just be a kid.
Today, Tim’s a little older than his father was then. He has a kid. He doesn’t know how to keep anyone safe or fix things or do basically anything. He’s maudlin and sad for his boy. He wonders if his father ever felt this.
Taylor’s Dreams Splash Color
Taylor’s in the backyard, watering his mom’s tomato plants because maybe the divorce won’t take; she’ll want salad when she’s back. She always said making rainbows was her art, so he puts his thumb and arcs the water in the sunlight. It’s like the tomatoes are being fed color.
Taylor dreams of her eating them and cocking her head, knowing something is different, and the color inside the fruit will make her smile. When he lowers the hose, he’s back in this world. To make his dreamworld last, he sprays into the air, letting the rainbow drip down on himself.
Copyright © 2022 John Brantingham All rights reserved
John Brantingham was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines, Writers Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016 and 2022. He has nineteen books of poetry and fiction including Life: Orange to Pear (Bamboo Dart Press). He is the founder and general editor of The Journal of Radical Wonder. He lives in Jamestown, NY.