A Poem by Paul Pruitt
Do I dream the Red King, or am I in the Red King’s dream? Do we Each the other dream, or do we dream, Both, one dream of mutual exercise? Am I contained in his dream, free— More so than we may be in waking life— And have I freed the Red King to dream down His small forever? Should I now cast him out of mind, Turning all my mirrors to the wall, turning his hunched Shape—yes, with all that inhabit realms of wonder—into A rare form of translucence, a ghost primed to be seen In a side glance, registered, then forever dimmed? Or shall I keep a part of my thoughts Still working in the twilight, accepting that I May meet my proper self trapped there, Half-alive, a would-be actor caught Behind the pages of so many books? First, I will begin with a decision small But necessary, all in all, and likely beneficial to my head: I will learn to wear this crown—so heavy, so red.
Paul Pruitt is a law librarian at the University of Alabama. He has published a number of poems over the years, most recently with the Birmingham Arts Journal. He is currently working on a series of poems entitled “Scenes from Childhood.”