Lyn Lifshin ~ The Worst Christmas Dream of Scissors and Knives

gingerbread-soldierFor once, I’m not dreading the day
(foolish, girl). No lights, but the
packages, wrapped, there, waiting.
Friday and Saturday I won’t have
to leave the house. I’m in black
velvet, like my e mail address or
a lake anything could escape
to for good. It’s a moonless night
but I don’t know yet that’s what
I’ll be wanting. Was the dream last
night a warning? Or the way the cat
I adore, Jete, who sleeps curled in
to my thighs, my chest, suddenly
lashed out at me? Rearing, her
eyes green fire, her claws knives I
will ache for later? I will want to
escape as if my life counted on it.
At least I hadn’t had champagne to
make the hideous news come like
poison in a drugged state, like
getting news of a sister’s death when
you had a good buzz. It’s the way
Law and Order shows begin. Every
one’s laughing. It’s the height of
the party often when a young girl is
thrilled about all that’s ahead.
Then, in the next shot, she’s spread
eagled in a blood pool, torn
lingerie letting you see her gorgeous
legs and belly you hadn’t. It was
like that, that plunge. The fireplace
and then the last present. Think of a
woman who goes around the car to
take her baby out of the back seat
and it isn’t there. No, I was just sure
after what I’d almost but clearly
not forgotten, “the Bolero incident,”
after the rage and humiliation.
This poem would go on for pages
if I laid out the stupid plot. Just let me
say that for the first time in my
life in the dark private hall, I spit.
Now how enraged I must have been,
even you who know little about
me could see I only did that because
I had to. And now, in the dream,
this vixen, this fat slut with pimples,
this flaunting her ta tas bimbo is
back on the scene again. Since you
said after I exploded, “jewelry
didn’t interest me anymore.” Well,
there’s more but maybe he was
the cat in the dream before, intent
on damage, wild and furious. Or
what happened, still had its claws out.
Or for months I knew only the pale
flesh pendant could soothe the
wound. But I wanted to take the stupid
things he gave me and strangle her.
Or maybe it was him. I wanted to use
my pale pink lace as a noose and
take that steel ladder, such a romantic
gift, and sharpen it into spears that
could maybe go thru both of them like
a skewer of roast lamb or pig. She
with her piggy eyes and her we we we
all the way home giggle. But mostly
it was the scissors, gold and gleaming
— each blade new and sharp as a
knife in its suede cave. They danced
in the dream, brilliant as tree glitter
or wild lights or some emergency truck
emergency after snow flashing, dangerous
about to cut those snug grins
from both of them



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