dream life of night owls

For Sara Zalek


it’s easy to learn three chords on the guitar
and sing about the world
as if it’s carried around in a pink paper bag
and forgotten on the train. 

i am never drunk in dreams.
in my head, as if a foot too big for a shoe,
i am the age i was when i fell asleep.
and i can improvise jazz stops. 

forward as far as i’ve lived. and backward
to polyester, to peeing into pants because scary
white Santa picked me up with thin white gloves
the way librarians pick up Mayan manuscripts.

they wrote about dreams with language reserved
for myths and stories. about ceiba trees upholding
a world soft and pink in spots. and roots creeping
down to the underworld.

in a dream i never look into a mirror.
and i don’t tell anyone i am time traveling.
a three-chord song plays in the background.
and i am very careful about how i dance.

in a dream, on a train, my love made promises
and i carried them around as if they were
carefully painted on vellum. she made myth
of everything. and i believed.

the sound of phantom trains keeps me up at night.
night eyes blink on a tree.
while awake i tell no one i know how to fly.
it’s like having a mistress.



Marcy Rae Henry es una latina chingona de Los Borderlands. She’s lived in Andalucía, tucked away in the Himalayas and now walks her rescue dog by the Chicago River. Her writing has been longlisted, shortlisted, honorably mentioned and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears or is forthcoming in The Columbia Review, PANK, carte blanche, The Southern Review and The Brooklyn Review, among others. She has received a Chicago Community Arts Assistance Grant and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. DoubleCross Press will publish a chapbook of her recent poems.

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