Dream What Dreams

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.”

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