Genevieve Betts

A Dream

Our dreams are as bright as your lions / Those golden beasts in tapestries of thought.
Ruth Barker

Child, you wake and recount your dream:
it is night and we are in a skiff drifting

toward the shore of a small island. Hands
like plants stretch up and out of the grass,

fingers like thin branches clawing at the air.
Some are clutching cut gemstones, facets

catching both the first light of sunrise and
the eyes of crows. They swoop and dive,

wanting something shiny for their curios,
but the hands grasp their gems tightly.

Even when a bird finally clasps one in its beak,
it struggles to keep hold, so the stone is dropping

down to earth, tumbling over the open palms
until one can snatch it again. More crows dive

and fingernails poke them like thorns in the eyes.
I don’t know what this dream means, but I know

that it’s like seeing through antique glass
warped and bubbled and framed in brass.

Your eyes close tight, but your little voice
still babbles. What night-slick parables

will you utter next, syllables spinning
from the spindle of your sleepy tongue?

Genevieve Betts is the author of the poetry collections A New Kind of Tongue (forthcoming from FlowerSong Press) and An Unwalled City (Prolific Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in Sleet MagazineHotel AmerikaThe Tishman ReviewThe Literary ReviewCloudbankSky Island Journal, and in other journals and anthologies. She teaches creative writing for Santa Fe Community College, as well as for Arcadia University’s low-residency MFA program in Glenside, PA.