Jeff Knorr

 
 

I Had a Dream About You


There were birds, thousands and thousands
of blackbirds, so many it turned the sky black
and then the sky twisted because all of the birds followed each other

and then you stood in front of me
in the sun, the birds flying against your
copper skin out of the tattoo on your chest, the ones you inked

flying right out of the words Guatemalan Pride.
You took me by the hand and we walked
into the woods where you were a child

again and you opened your hand and showed me
an owl pellet that looked like a mouse, so we pulled
back the fur and looked at all the tiny bones so frail it was hard

to imagine they were the skeleton of any animal.
There were more birds and a truck. We drove and you slept.
I could hear your breath. I heard your heart beat

as if I was holding you when you were small.
When you woke you said, I shot someone, I had to you said, they had guns
I had a gun. You can’t tell anyone, you said.

Then a deer was on the narrow shoulder of the road so we stopped
and when I turned it over, wet because it was raining,
it was a man in jeans and a hoodie and you said that’s him

so I unzipped his sweatshirt and it unzipped his body
and your gun and a copper bullet were inside his belly.
I said, it’s ok. I don’t think you did this.

You held me in the moonlight after the rain stopped and
said it will be ok, I am ok, dad. Your eyes
were dark and your arms were prison strong, the birds flew

toward your shoulders again and blackbirds watched from the trees.
You told me not to worry about them. In an instant
there were cows, a huge herd of cows


and you rode behind them with a white hat, no saddle
a Guatemalan vaquero, and I watched you drive all of them
over a rise in the distance and you were gone.

And I stood in the road which turned to a field and woke up.

The house was quiet, your room empty. The dogs breathed on the floor
and you’re still gone, still locked up, probably sleeping
under the inked blackbird sky.