blàr anam [53]

On the night after I’d written my first cover letter for this poem, I dreamt that I was helping my girlfriend clean a house. I think it was my Uncle Tom’s old house on Warren Street. I was also struggling with the decision as to whether or not I should join Caesar’s legions. He was in the New World and he’d sent me a proposal. And in fact I remembered already being there with him. We’d made it up to the Appalachians from Florida, and we were marching some great red armorial standard through primordial forest. I’d wanted to split our men in two sections so that I could take half of them up to where I lived (where I was at on Warren Street). There has always been some contention as to where Hernando de Soto found a particular chunk of galena, and therefore how far north he’d made it, and I’d thought I could lay the matter to rest once and for all. I’d also known that if the Osage found us they’d try to kill us, but I was willing to go anyway. I wanted to see what my home had looked like before it was encroached upon by western civilization. One way or another Caesar had refused to let me go, and this was my chance to go back and try again. I knew I would be leaving my girlfriend, and everything else I loved, forever. It was a decision between comfort and safety, and the adventure of a lifetime. I thought about just disappearing when everyone was gone, but I decided against it. We ended up going to a movie after we’d finished cleaning the house. The traffic was bad and I was becoming confused because I couldn’t understand how we could have automobiles and movie theaters, and at the same time be some two thousand years in the past. The movie was a love story, conventional Nicholas Sparks bullshit, but at the end it turned out that the boy in the film had ALS or something similar, and he couldn’t move. He’d dreamt the whole thing up, his life, the girl, everything. Now he was sitting in a wheelchair with a feeding-tube in his neck trying to tell the story with some kind of speech-generating device similar to what Stephen Hawking uses. And it occurred to me that the boy could be, perhaps even was, me.

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