Monty Reid


five SMALLER dreams


i

I was pregnant, but I was being downsized.
My pet crow, its name was Kafka, had flown away in defiance.
A friend said it had shown up at an asylum on the other side of Prague.
We drove to the asylum to search for my crow.
We walked among the bare branches calling Kafka, Kafka, Kafka.
And finally it came, landing on my arm and seizing its favorite biscuit.
My brother grabbed it a stuffed it in a sack.
It fought and squawked and I held it close to my belly to soothe it.
I know the inmates thought my belly was making terrible sounds.
I knew there was no room in this city for my dreams.
When we got back to the car it stuck its head out of the bag.
It looked at me and said my name.




ii

We were flying back from Victoria just when Canadian was downsizing.
We ran into bad turbulence just before Calgary.
The attendants fell in the aisle as we dropped into an airpocket.
My drink flew out of my hand and hit the ceiling.
There was some religious group on the plane.
They began to sing and pray and speak in tongues.
Every time the plane pitched their voices got louder and more desperate.
People started shouting at them to shut up.
Someone called back saying they had a right to pray.
The entire cabin was ready to fight except no one could stand up.
The steward had to threaten the leader of the group with criminal charges.
When we got onto the ground at Calgary the leader raised his hands.
None of you would have made it without our prayers he said.





iii

Winter has been downsized.
What is left of it feels guilty about surviving.
Even so, when you were building a house the weather turned bitter.
You had just poured the concrete and didn't have a chance to backfill.
You had to keep the heaters going and the tarps on.
You went out to re-fuel the heater at four a.m.
The wind was blowing harder.
You got the heater filled but had to nail the tarps down better.
There was a gap between the ground and the new foundation wall.
You had to lean across it.
First you hammered a finger and started bleeding in your mitt.
The tarps flapped as if they would fly away.
When you tried to push yourself away you discovered what happened.
Your mitt was nailed to the tarp.
You were stretched across the gap and couldn't move.




iv

Why would anyone care to know about bliss?
It too has been made smaller.
We sat on a windy terrace with a jug of sangria.
The waves lurched towards the beach, breaking stubbornly on the seawall.
I was telling you about a painter up in Mijos.
He wanted to do one of his fake primitives with us in it.
We would be nude, and it would be a garden of paradise.
Where is the ideology in this?
We were eating a lunch of cheese and oranges.
The air comes, all salt, riding off the water.
There was an old man on the paseo with his hands in his pants.
Look at me, you said, I am made of water.
I could not stand five per cent less of you.




v

The small is among the beautiful.
But it is not the beautiful itself.
The blue pyramidal cedars shiver with grey birds.
They have found the dry interior branches.
They flutter there beneath the window.
There is an irreducible chance of precipitation.
The small.
Talk of rain.







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