Dream And Duty

Dream And Duty long poem

Photo by thejasp

up and up until
the rugged horizon smoothes
to a line then a curve
stars shine at midday
bending on the uppermost leaf
of this tallest tree

a man might faint
might frighten and fall
dead before he met the ground
but an ant could survive
immune to terminal air velocity
buoyed by braids
thermal layers and invisible wind

first though it would daub
a bit of disappointment pheromone
signal its tribe
nothing good is located above
telling them to turn around
regain the ground

its duty done maybe a capricious breeze
would rip it off a twig

what would that tumult look like
a dutiful ant’s brain confronted
by a world gone pinwheel
antennae swivelling to catch a scent
then body bouncing
branch to bracken to ground
bent and dented but not dead
able to rejoin the line of its kind
not some hypothetical river
different every time
a person might dip in his toe
but the same exact line
the same ants the same goal
just a slightly different position
back to work after what a man might see
as the adventure of a lifetime

a man might dream such a thing
glad at first to avoid work
family and those dense
social obligations he performs
so badly making conversation making
eye contact making a living
his wife would find worthy
of her continued participation
in the suffering dog’s dinner
that is their marriage
sleep and dreams would be an escape
even a dream a tumbling through the air

such a man might wake stunned
unable to pin down the time of day
listening to wordless shouts from the park
and voices in the middle ground
too quiet to understand
speaking Dutch or Klingon for all he knows
so he might assume he’s still dreaming
shift himself out of his twisted sheets
pad to his apartment’s front door
wearing nothing but a pair of shorts
intent to get a human read
on what the dream-ant just experienced

out of the building and across the avenue
cars honking at the slovenly sight
a kind of modern trodlodyte
showing a shambling gait with gravel
sticking into his tender paws
drivers wondering where the man is bound
heading out onto the bridge deck
that gentle arc across the neck of the park
pausing just a moment at midspan
feeling the breeze on his bald head
sunlight bouncing off his belly
and just then he would realize
he wasn’t dreaming he wasn’t sleepwalking
but living out that most daring fantasy
he’d swing his feet up and out
a surprisingly graceful last act
to begin that tumble into black

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a poet from Seattle Washington USA. His poetry has appeared in print in publications such as Bellowing Ark, Point Nopoint, and most recently in Contraposition magazine. When not writing poetry he is a Human Resources professional, a repentant glutton, and a novelist specializing in the weird-fiction genre.
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