The Dream In Which The Winos Find Their Morals, Draw A Line, And Take A Stand

By Christopher Watkins

In the dream we are sleeping in the last row of Merlot
to the west, before the Cabernet Sauvignon;
the air is weaving, lush and humid,
as if  we’re on the highway making heat a noun, as in,
"Look, you can see the heat above the road."

Our feet are to the north, towards the buildings,
and there’s a red bird chirping loudly at a brown bird
by my head. When I sit up, I see the raccoon scat,
pocked with tiny grape pips; he has stopped only a foot
before our feet. You’re still sleeping.

Suddenly we have coffee and a tent,
you’re awake, and we have just eaten breakfast:
campfire eggs and beans with stale wheat bread.
There is a tiny baby deer resting in your lap,
and the sky is shaping up to bring a storm.

I have a pocket-watch, and pull it from the pocket
of the seersucker suit that I’m now wearingyou’re in jeans
and a crisp white tuxedo shirtand say "They’re coming,
I can feel it, time to go." I blink, big and slow; the deer baby’s gone,
the tent is packed, the fire is out.

It will not rain, but the pressure’s near intolerable,
we walk as if we’re thigh-deep in a pool; I wipe your brow
with a cream-colored hanky; in the corner, woven black,
the letter G. We round the building, and the heat is even worse,
the sun was hiding on the north side, now it slaps us.

The parking lot is full, the grass is covered with cars,
there are even cars out on the street, everywhere
there are cars, and in each car are people sheened with sweat,
going nacreous as onions fried in butter; I can see through their
clammy melting skin to the dry dusty dust of their bones.

Then we’re behind the bar, Aretha Franklin is playing,
everything is ready, you go to open the door, then you’re on the floor,
they’ve run you over, ten, twenty, thirty of them, the bar is full, I’m moving glasses,
somehow you’re beside me again, everyone has a glass, there is so much noise it’s
unbearable, voices all saying the same thing in different ways, "It’s so damn hot," "I’m

hot," "It’s the humidity, I tell you," "Mom, I’m melting!" "Man, it’s really warm."
Then, as if on cue, they all go silent, silent on a dime, and nothing moves.
Nothing happens, we’re all a photograph, a moment caught in time.
Amy tells me later this must be when she woke, rolled over, and found me
roiling in my sleep, eyes frisking under eyelids, fingers twitching, mumbling
under breath; she tried to soothe me by patting my wet head.

In the dream, I’m at the bar still, it’s still quiet. A woman in front of me
mouthes the words The Blush, and holds her glass out. The Rose?, I ask, and then
pour the wine. She looks down at the glass, then up at me and says, "Can you please put
some ice in?" I am her then, watching me, as I say, "I’ll give you the ice, but you’ll have
to put it in yourself, I don’t want that on my conscience, I need to sleep at night."