Dick Said



Your silence tells me

something must be wrong

I can’t tell by your face

It’s blank as stone

It bothers me to hear you

staying so still

No matter what I say

Emptiness is all I feel


My words run dry

trying to dig something out

I don’t know where to turn

so I just walk out

there’s a distance in the feet between us

that can’t be measured or crossed

I feel my efforts are wasted

and our time has been a loss


A Short and Startling Dream

I rocked up from sleep to look around.

The house was quiet. Everyone, even the cats that I saw, were asleep. Everyone except me.

3:25, according to my Fitbit.

The dream remained a fresh flow in my thoughts. I’d been at some ill-defined place. I remembered green grass as well as glass and cement. Awake, I thought, school, office, cemetery, mausoleum, hospital? None quite fit.

Wherever and whatever it was, I was there, along with other people. Everyone else was on their backs with their arms at their sides. I thought they were asleep. I didn’t know any of them. I thought there were eight people.

(And there was eight in my dreams again, I noted in a sidebar. Eight frequently comes up in my dreams.)

I thought everyone was sleeping but as I didn’t hear snoring, I began suspecting that they were dead. None of them moved.

It was cool. I was fully dressed in jeans and a polo shirt and shoes. Everyone I saw was dressed, too, and had shoes on. As I walked, I realized that I was in a small section of this place. Turning a corner, I saw thousands more people like that, all on their backs, not on beds, but on what seemed like stretches, like the EMT uses. There were orderly rows and rows of them.

I was shocked and concerned. Nobody was moving. Trying to puzzle out what was going on, I looked for documentation or equipment that would provide clues, but there were only massive rooms with white walls, shiny tiled floors, fluorescent lights, ceilings with acoustic tiles, and windows that revealed manicured grass lawns and a bright blue sky outside.

I started checking. Are these people dead, or…

It seemed like they were breathing, but everyone’s eyes were closed. Nobody snored. I touched a woman and a man and found them warm. Nobody seemed injured. I didn’t recognize anyone. Most were white and middle-aged. There were men and women. I didn’t see any children, and it was absolutely quiet. The only noise I heard the entire time was the sound of my steps when I walked.

Panicking, I thought, maybe this is a ward for a disease. Maybe these people were being quarantined. As I thought these things, I looked around and concluded that it wasn’t a hospital, but I didn’t know what it was. That didn’t mean that these people weren’t in quarantine, because they could be using a school or office for it because something big had happened.

Struggling to understand it, I tried recalling how I arrived there, and failed. I retraced my steps to see if there was a space where I’d slept. Unsure where I’d been, I kept walking and searching for where I’d started. I didn’t see any empty beds. Nor did I see any doors.

Realizing that, I thought, there’s no way out, and then thought, how did I get in here, then?

Then I awoke, sweating and alarmed. It all seemed so ill-defined that it bothered me.

It took some time before I went back to sleep.

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