Pillows and Pillboxes

Wet streets after a flood .. late afternoon light

“All of what we see or seem…”

I dreamed I was walking through a quiet, shady town just after a flood. It was late afternoon. The summer sunlight glimmered greenly through drippy trees. Water covered the streets, over the curb, across the greenway and sidewalks, and partially across the debris-strewn lawns. I tread lightly along the plashy sidewalk, gently pressing a large, soft white pillow to my chest. I was so tired. It was quiet. The air smelled so clean and wet. The light was all dapples of green, yellow and gold. The lovely old houses seemed abandoned; many were visibly damaged. Shingles, glass, a box of diapers, flimsy plastic bags littered the yards. I walked peacefully on, breathing deep, my steps skimming over the wet pavement. My stride slowed but my pace did not. I glided along. Ahead and to my right I heard voices, four or five adults talking loudly but far away. I was approaching the last house on the block. It was the end of the street, where the sidewalk ends. Before me, the ground rose a few feet to a gentle ridge, then fell away into a small ravine. I supposed a creek was down there, and imagined it rushing swollen through the trees. I lay my left cheek onto the pillow. Off to my right I now saw the group of neighbors behind the last houise, on the side porch overlooking the lawn stretching down the hill to the trees below. I noticed a woman in the group, her back to the lawn. I glimpsed her in profile just before my pillow came to rest on the ridge. I was vaguely surprised… I had imagined I would rise with the terrain, float over the ridge and glide down to the trees, perhaps float away on the rushing stream… but no… I came to a gentle rest on the wet warm rise… my head sank into the pillow and I slept.


“…is but a dream within a dream.”

I dreamed I was an infantryman in a decimated army platoon in retreat. I could perceive no leadership — all was chaos. We were in a derelict industrial area stinking of cordite and blood. I was in a yard between warehouses, in an enclosure surrounded by a high chain-link fence. Stacks of enormous pallets towered around me; sticky mud sucked at my boots. A Nazi battalion was closing in and no one expected to survive. A couple of fellows were scrambling to set up some artillery pieces, but parts were missing, there were no shells… I noticed a shallow, muddy hollow under a stack of pallets. I lay prone in the muck and gauged whether I could slither into the gap. Could I hide there? If found, could I play dead? Would it seem likely that I had died there, or would I just look like I was hiding and playing dead?

Something whacked my shoulder. “Hey!” a woman shouted. Another jab and I awoke.

The lady from the porch stood over me on the wet hillside. “So you don’t sleep in a bed anymore?” She kicked my shoulder again and I awoke.


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