Friday, May 22, 2009

Richard Straw: PLATO’S CAVE

I meet by chance on the street someone who resembles one of my dead grandpas and who could be the twin brother of Carl Sandburg, who died even longer ago. We walk into his basement apartment, the entrance a trap door. It's either that or a farmhouse cellar—hard to tell in the dream. He tells me his problem—what to do with his many manuscripts, books, papers. I suggest hiring an assistant, someone who won't know or care that he's working for a well-known writer. We talk about Huckleberry Finn, why it's reread, despite its moral dilemmas, to re-create lost innocence.

As I glance at his close-cropped hair, crow's feet, tired but still-bright eyes, the scene shifts to midwinter in Ohio, snow a foot deep, and me standing in the kitchen of my parents' house, my last boyhood home in their small town. Beyond the dinette curtains, five horses, their nostrils steaming, wait on the moonlit driveway, which is cleared of snow. I cry out for dad to see. When I wake, a headache I've had for days is gone.

standing still
the longest time
roller coaster

by Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina
first published in
Lynx V23, N1 (February 2008)

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