John-Ward Leighton


John-Ward Leighton: Dream Sixteen

John-Ward Leighton: Dream Sixteen
Photos: ©Copyright 2010 by John-Ward Leighton
The number of the day
I dreamed of you last night
and in the silence of a rising sun
I let your tears set my mood
and the words meant nothing
they drifted off into the void.

A wan smile
to soothe my wounded heart
my daughter said she had to come
because she may never see us again
and connections thousands of miles long
would be broken and forgotten.

Those photos of people
known and then unknown
that grace all the albums of the dead
and with plastic bags
drift on the surface
of landfills everywhere.

Or hide from the inevitable
in dusty attics and basements
above our heads and below our feet
puzzles for curious children
out of sight and out of mind
until it comes time to sell.

My shelves are full of books
my shelves are full of images
that you will never read or look at
history is only what is remembered
we leave the forgotten
for landfills and questions from strangers.

Our spirits drift even as we live
like the plastic bits on a poisoned sea
our crimes of mind unexecuted and unpunished
our good deeds unrecorded
our fantasizes unpainted and unimagined.

Were we that complicated?

I try to imagine a world
in which I’m no longer extant
and try to warn grandchildren
to beware the soft voices of unrequited desire
because all journeys lead to the grave
it’s not yourself, it’s your work, you must save.

This dream of sixteen
tortured and rewarded me in a restless sleep
and I had to rise and face the dawn
I looked at your photos
all that remains now that you are gone
and leave it to others to bury your ashes on the plain.

Sixteen, sixteen, sixteen,
it resonates again and again
and I study the mud in my coffee cup
and wipe away my tears
and all the joy and pain of the passing years
one third of a day gone in dream sixteen.