The Briefest guide to dream interpretation: with cloud for eye

by Carol Dorf

You’ve seen that postcard,
refrigerator magnet, sky
in the eye which screens
out most of what I’d prefer
to avoid. The card of Heaven
guarantees success and it’s 1979
again, or ’86, before all the making
and unmaking. Lay out your sticks
on the table and hopscotch
between, because in these squares
you hop forward, never to retrace
your steps. The girl waits impatiently
behind you, “My turn, my turn,”
and your mother has abandoned
the field. You want to ask her, “Why,”
but you already have. In the café
at the edge of the grounds, you sit together
at a rusty table while the girl wanders past
picking up pebbles for her collection.
If you could stop time you wouldn’t,
even though you long for those days
of milk and cookies, of sewing dresses
for the preschool pageant. Roses and Calla lilies,
the garden is chaos, like your mother’s,
even though you’d promised yourself all
would be different. The cards say heaven,
six straight lines to the future.
You ask for more sky.


Carol Dorf’s poems have appeared in in Canary, Sin Fronteras, Spillway, Hip Mama: The Parenting Zine, The Mom Egg, In Posse Review, Moira, Feminist Studies, Heresies, Fringe, The Midway, Poemeleon, Runes, and 13th Moon. They have been anthologized in Not a Muse, Boomer Girls, and elsewhere. She is poetry editor of Talking Writing and teaches mathematics at Berkeley High School.