Dream #9 (The Book on a Chain) by Derek Godin

Every time you appear on the back of my lids,

we're wearing matching black turtlenecks.

This is how my resetting brain creates continuity,

with the presence of Peruvian alpaca wool.


This time is no different, our sweaters anchor

our rendezvous, though everything else still shifts

underfoot in the way the slippery geography

and malleable physics of dreams tend to favour.

This time we're in a book store not far from my house,

but as my house isn't my house, this book store isn't

that book store, but a miasma of undecipherable glyphs

and warped shelving; you read aloud passages I can't remember.

My Library of Babel has salt stains on the carpet

because of the slush outside, and a clearly-marked exit.

We are free to leave and fill our empty hands and pockets

with each other's palms, or the ice raining from the night.

I fiddle with the novelties by the cash register,

including something called Keychain Classics;

every canonical doorstop shrunk to the size

of a matchbox, type laid out like an angel on a pin.

Finally, a fun new way to strain your mind's eye:

be that guy, you know, that guy on the subway

wrecking his vision trying to read a copy of Dune

the size of a strawberry jam packet from the diner.

You pull me out from the ever-recursing image.

We spin like whirligigs into the intersection, prismatic

pellets lit up like beacons by a procession of headlights.

The cars have no choice but to wait for us to leave.


Derek Godin is a writer based in Montreal. He is the co-founder and co-editor of the film criticism website Dim the House Lights, a graduate of Concordia University’s MA Film Studies program, and a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion (only two of these are true).

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