Phone Calls

Phone Calls

My brother tells me he dreamed
we all were swept away:
our family standing at the edge of the
lake while the water rose and
rose until, with gusts—I ask him
what did you say? the phone cutting
static in my ear; he says, gusts
we are plucked from the shore
(petals, rust-red, down a drain,
I saw once as a child)
drawn into the lake to drown.
We do not often speak like this.
We are not sentimental.
I think of a memory: his
shovel on my skull
splitting the skin above my ear.
An accident, of course.
My blood in the snow.
His fear—stop crying
perhaps the same as now,
on the phone.
The inexplicable guilt
of dreams, that we’ve done
all this to ourselves.
And that same need to
confess, to share something
we cannot name safely.
Come inside, he’d finally
said to me. We’ll get help.





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