Disturbing Dreams and Their Cure
by Pamela Uschuk

    Morning builds a small fire in the clay chiminea
    whose mouth is the belly of a deer, head
    tiared with clay antlers and flowers my husband dreams
    under the wall that holds
    the world's snoring guitars in its adobe hands.

    Last night teen thugs pistol-whipped my nightmare
    in a school, where they sprouted
    black leather and semi-automatic sneers
    bitter as wasted coffee grounds
    I squeeze for an early mug.
    What use was there for classrooms?
    Which cracked-out mother or absentee
    father expected me to baby-sit?
    Angry as the nuclear feet of fire ants
    teens spilled from desks, insults
    ricocheting off riddled blackboards until
    I finally refused the lowriders of cynicism
    for the tall shadow of a deer I followed
    from the upthrust fists and down
    the fragmented postmodern halls of disillusionment,
    squeezing through the metal detector
    and out the barred door.
    One young gangsta slicked with a Chrome 38
    shrank back to a sweet-haired boy,
    why are you going? what makes poetry
    leave us behind?

    Something like a high-peak breeze
    claimed my thick breast, my long-gone throat.
    Rattling the 12 point rack that crowned my heart, I lifted
    the young Crip to this belly-borne fire, to poetry's
    deaf ear, as the guitars crackled awake.

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