i dreamt i was waiting by Jeffrey Salamone-Callahan

i dreamt i was waiting for my lover in a clearing in the woods
i dreamt of myself in a laurel of wilting bay leaves
and lavender, dancing quick and light-footed
atop the short grass, like sunlight
on a lake’s rippled surface
under each step red robins crushed
into loose patches of pale violet petals
scattered across a grave of soft green turf
interruption:{ But where did all the blood go? This can’t be a bloodless poem }
at rest: supine on the forest floor
as one hand lifted a fifth of bourbon to bloody lips (this is the robins’ blood. i kissed each one)
where the two liquids swirled into a nectarine cocktail
a warm hallucinogenic gloss
as i stared into the blushing forest above
slits of lemoncholy light cascaded down (or crawled, on hands and knees, pushing aside twigs and branches) through layers of deciduous canopy
interruption:{ Imagine the dancing sunlight on the lake’s rippled surface
come to rest on every leaf }
dryness came to each as they dropped
wafted downwards, and in mid-
descent folded into wings
as they fluttered each in succession intercepted
by goldfinches and dragonflies
which darted from deep inside the balding woods
like cupidinous arrows
There was this shadow-god  interruption:{ God to whom? }  who abided within an oak
his testicles two hornets’ nests
except one was actually a honeybee hive
and you never knew which testicle would ejaculate when he honeyjizzed (a mouth aswarm with bumbles)
and he didn’t live in the oak but in the shadow of the oak
interruption:{ He may have also been a crow }
interruption:{ He was a god unto himself }
Let’s take a walk into the center of my ripe, beating heart
this plum, a nest of pulpy flesh bloated with sticky juices
a humid sugarmeadow wrapped in grape leaves
a fleshy sun
a latent hummingbird
a poacher of heaven-ascented things
(for the sake of whom those foliar butterflies
had been ambushed)
infested with maggots
or maybe the plum is his scrotum as well
dripping with honeycomb sweat
a trail of buttercups up the midriff
The crows began to fly in a ring around the native queenstar
spiraled into a black cloud, coalesced into an eclipse
interruption:{ If you could, you would see
an eclipse of the sun
in the eye of every crow }
fell suddenly, as night draped over the earth
Night fucks differently from how shadows fuck
when night fucks
it rains (so a nymph
whispered in my ear with alcoholic breath)
saturates you like a sponge
the pleasure is all wet
a moonless love
thrusts like lightning
strikes inside the body
And I know what you’re thinking
that it’s the orgasm that should come like a lightning bolt
but really
dawn is the orgasm of every night
and as the sun rose blades of grass bristled against my back
along my skin pre-death sugars crystallized into a marigold afterlife
a nymph whispered in my ear:
but quickly withered
being nothing but a speck of dew

every liquid spilt began to crust and evaporate
every tree bore signs of an early death
let me tell you a secret about death  interruption:{ There are some parts
of this poem
that cannot be spoken
and can only be “read” given a liberal definition of the word
there are some lines in this poem that are merely
tears in the papyri
some are just
the slowly drying watermarks
left by droplets
of old rain }



Previously Jeffrey has worked in Boston Public Schools, on a farm, as a leasing agent, and as a slumlord detective in South LA. He was born in Boston in 1991, works in Dorchester, and lives south of the city.