Dream of purgatory as a hometown visit
I dream a desolation in the Kmart shopping center parking lot. The one from my hometown. The one they tore down to build a warehouse for medical marijuana.
In my sleep my feet sneak out from sheets.
In my dream a bored rain pummels concrete.
In the warehouse tiny false stars get their burn on. Get that green bursting pay-dirt in the ex-Kmart.
In the dream I go there to find out if my grandmother is in heaven yet.
In real life I once went there to buy a white t-shirt. I tie-dyed it so I could look like what I ain’t. I be good white liberal collegiate girl. I smoke only when smoken to.
O ex-Kmart. O shopping center with the Chinese buffet.
In the dream my hometown is a gate to somewhere warmer.
In the parking lot my brother’s new girlfriend tells a joke with the n-word.
In real life I say nothing.
In the dream I show her how to pick up a thousand specks of dust.
O endless penance. O persistence. O monosodium glutamate.
I pick up the first few and then let her finish.
In the dream Kmart is still alive but my grandmother is still dead.
In real life all the customers were arrested on drug charges & the whole chain went under.
In heaven a network of prayers and not-yets connects the good and the not-so-good. From far away it looks like smoke. When I wake up I can’t tell I’m woke.
O sun. O bright bitch of day. Lay your gilt upon me that I may be released.
KT Herr is or was: queer; poet; songwriter; grilled cheese enthusiast; Smith College alumna; advisory board member for Write616; poetry editor for The 3288 Review; host of WYCE’s Electric Poetry; preliminary judge for the 2017 Dyer-Ives Poetry Prize; amateur fisherwoman; Retort Slam Team finalist; Pushcart nominee; MFA candidate in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared in Pilgrimage Magazine, Francis House, and Grand Rapids Grassroots: Anthology of Activism. Her nonfiction is forthcoming from Goat’s Milk Magazine. She lives in Yonkers with someone else’s cat.
Featured image From KT Herr