Dream State Slip-Gown

By: Isabelle Shachtman

The sound of the train past midnight
And a clear sort of light seek my room and cheeks
Leaving the layers of darkness, moon, and house light stale and stark
As if the lighter colored sheaths of air in the dark are unbreathable
As if I’m lying to myself about what I really see through the night

Under a warm tiredness
And a pungent desire to dream pleasantly
I fall, crumbling,
Restarting as ashes and anchorage:

I feel moonlight hit outside
I hold nothing of the day inside of me yet
I am tired already
I know what is to come will have something to lose

The putrid retelling
That I myself am only a matter of time

My heart and brain and lungs are trapped inside me
Can’t breathe, can’t listen and notice and perceive—
And want out
Out, far before their time
To see for themselves
What they work for
Understand why they are dying

The disappointing desire for love:
To pretend I exist within something else
Besides my little feeble self
My foolish self

A matchbox
A birthday cake
Lemon eyes and feathery skin
The layers — the leaf-like adjustments,
Grandma’s old skin making sounds in my mind like the wind and broken pinecones
Her movement:
The gentle appreciation of hot blood
The meek disgust of a sticky pulse under a tight grip
Mom’s love
An earnest inhale
A bulbous minuet of life
Lime green and slim shaven
Wistful, seasonal
Frosty bark and all
Like a dream that I’ll die within
A memory that brings heat to my temples and ripples to my exhales

My body
My sweet sweet servile self
A cave
Oh how, when I am alone in it, does it echo

Living likes the silk slips on pepper freckled women
Sharing kisses and hands and nightlight
At an easy hour past midnight
To make a passionate preface of theft,
Ultraterrestrial theft
Taking turns in giving love for life
Before they forget the night away

Namely shapely words and lines grow at these banks
Beneath the sleeping bodies and overgrown lust
Like remorse
And consanguine
Mettlesome and meanderer,
Derivatives of saint and martyr
Wiry blood,
Splinters in the veins

Silently roaring under the spell
Waiting for a passing godhead
To drop a penny or two down the well

For the eternal feeling of her
Is an empty earnestness
A forgotten dream
A sleep most longed for

God, I don’t even want her
But i seek her
As if a gentle lover is a synonym for painless death
As if I’ll never have to know what my own heartbeat sounds like
If i continue

cross cancel

The Bodies the feeling the sleepiness
Lucky as wind and sky
To help one another
Her voice
And what I can remember of my dreams
Makes me think our names must’ve rhymed in a past life

The irony pries meagerly at my heart
And leaves me second guessing that autumn smell of deceit
And the orbit of my mind around a day like hers

A murky watered spell dances on my body through my sleep
As if the night is my calling,
As if I’m coming home, and hypnotized by the fireplace
As if I want to feel everything with her through the wake and sleep

But I am too languid tossing under sheets
Bare besides my cold slipdress
Gold green, like her eyes tracing my hips and bodice
Amber, like how I imagine the dead branches look by candle light

As if everything that
Has always mattered to me
my shoulders,
       stopping at my hips—
Being forgotten
when I wake up.