the smell of lemon lysol lingers on the sidewalk

like a smoker, huddled in the air that bites

worse than it barks.


that smell,

antiseptic and full of the promise of

the kind of clean we’ll never be.


i push my hair back away from my eyes and realize

i haven’t had a nightmare in months and for a moment i

ponder the chance that i’ve got it all wrong,

that this place is inside my head,

that this all isn’t real.


but i don’t follow that thought down the darkened, rutted road to where

i keep all of my memories of you shut behind our old glass door we jammed closed

with a thick, jagged piece of cardboard. in the dead

of winter, it would howl open to the midnight wind

and we’d laugh.


but i know this is real because there are no smells in my dreams,

and rarely any sound. people don’t speak as much as

i just know what they’re bound to say.


so i know this is real.

this place is too loud and nothing makes sense,

not even in dream logic.

so i’ve got it exactly right, just

didn’t quite understand until this moment that

my nightmares now happen while i’m awake.


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