Electric Dreams

Two Worlds

Alice Klein

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Klein, Alice (2003 November). Two Worlds. Electric Dreams 10(11).

In the other world my mother

calls from a hotel room

to say the toilet won't flush

and I tell her to phone downstairs

and say she wants another room.

As in real life, my mother balks

and side-steps around me

without clearly answering.

            Somewhere else

a big man stands behind

a flea market table

and I stand on the other side

inquiring about a set of small

silver plates and knives and forks --

only four dollars! Are they real


            It must be the way

the morning sun on that big

white-curtained window brightens

the whole yellow room

that makes me wake so early,

trailing dark threads from the other world,

a sinking feeling about my mother's helplessness

and her obduracy, my own greed

for shiny things like the silverware here

at this house where I'm staying.

For a while there's ambivalence --

to sleep some more or wake?

            Neither world is comfortable. There,

I am wound up and bound

in dark tatters of story that start and end

in strange places and leave me aching.

Here, it is all sun and brightness

with everything open to view,

making me feel I ought to know

what to do. But I wonder

as I slowly pull myself up and sit back

among the pillows: It is one more

precious day to be human and alive --

how, then, not to be helpless

in the crossfire of shooting thoughts,

the greedy clutching at anything

that shines? What, exactly, to do

with this unfathomable gift of life

in a body lit by consciousness?

   Alice [AliceHKlein@msn.com]