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Dreaming Space Awake


ISSUE:  Summer 1993
For a while, he stashes Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour
in his mail sack and in each short stretch
between apartments, squirrels and winter-weary shrubs-
he reads a fenceless, stateless, still-forested America back

into place. Between your house and mine,
whole Montana prairies dappled with wild horses.
Halfway to the marine-green mail holding box,
a Lakota Sioux behind a pine, shy

as the wing-singing of returning swans you half-hear
through thick, housed-in sleep. The Government
slow to catch on, finally informs the mailman it’s illegal to
read
on the job. So he goes farther back

than wild west to first west and now he carries
in his raw, rough satchel, the mail, of course,
but also dozens of tiny plastic dinosaurs he gives to kids
and sometimes me. Just yesterday, a grey stegosaurus

delivered with the electric bill. There’s more
than overdue notices being delivered here, more
than catalogues or grocery deals. Between my house
and yours, huge blue beasts from the beginning

link up the entire neighborhood just as easily
as electrical wires and their transformers
or the 3 a. m. dreams that make roads we all meet on,
dance down and waking, erase

while the mailman, day after day, keeps walking,
a weather-blessed tumbleweed seeding in among us
the living corsage of the explorer’s campfire,
native peoples shape-shifting

into stone and tree, the pterodactyl’s leathery wings
a lot more like a mail sack than you might think,
the almost imperceptible breeze alive with the deep slow
heave
of the earliest animals, their fern-drenched dreams.

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