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I moved to Burlington in my sleep

John Terpstra


I moved to Burlington in my sleep.   I moved
upstairs, to Burlington, Master Bedroom,
down the long hallway from Hogtown.   I moved,
and in my sleep it was a Sunday afternoon,
Open House.   Strangers were drifting
room to room, nodding in twos
through doorways, and fondling the woodwork.
They moved across the wall to wall
as if all the earth were under their feet,
but I knew they would have to leave,  I knew
that four o'clock would roll around
and they would amble back to the curb, turn,
and try to imagine bicycles on the lawn,
themselves coming and going up the drive.
They didn't know this was my dream.
And in my dream it was preordained
                                                    all this
was mine.

I moved to Burlington in my sleep.
I don't even like Burlington. I don't like
the little picnic towns that clear their orchards,
their farms, make tableland of every undulation
then gorge themselves on housing.
I badmouth Burlington, so strongly,
my daughter now complains of headaches
when we're driving through.
                                         But in my sleep
the big garage doors opened
and I was taken in, surprised
that they would have me, they knew
who craved this entry
into the large and tasteful kingdom
of his personal indoors, his furnished soul.

I moved to Burlington in my sleep.
It grew late. The rooms were empty,
the strangers gone; and I slept-
walked down the halls to the front door
and stood on the stoop of my dream
home, and saw
                      many other people
having the same dream as me.
We were all asleep!  We were
sleeping together, a quiet cul de sac
of landscaped infidelity.
                                   Tractor paths
still sank their ruts
into our rolled ripe lawns, and I know
in my heart the lousy truth, I know
there isn't room enough for everyone,
and the further we drift apart
the bigger our houses have to be,
and it's no excuse, I know! but I hoped
never to wake. Our grasses matched
so perfectly, it was
a rapture
              of green.   I was
transported
                  to Burlington....

What can I say?
some are chosen, some
not. They're left
standing, stopped
at the curb, observed
through upstairs
windows, wide-eyed
                              nowhere.



John Terpstra's works copyright © to the author.


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