It is a strange dream


It is a strange dream



to be a woman, this woman,

ripped out of an other-worldly childhood

into monthly nightmare extremes, and

the mess – the demanding insects crawling

under coat sleeves, pant cuffs, arm cuffs

onto belly and breasts, swollen, aching.


To grow curves and be looked at but not seen:

to be told to smile.


Then to bear the weight of another living being

cuckooing, blooming inside – shifting joints, altering

established gaits, and the hunger.


Being with those you bore and birthed

in every stair climbed, in every sleep, each minute,

never without their beings not beside yours, living

the greatest of all imaginings –

heaven in a hug, tangible in eyes

that are not yours but are threaded tightly to your nerves,

riveting through you – their breaths

more significant to your survival than your own, riveting

like fireworks and famine,

in their sorrow and brightness.


Almost grown, then grown and swinging from

bell-towers without safety nets, changing houses,

destroying rooms, forgetting, sometimes remembering, God.

The love, resonating into cracks in plaster, deeper

than the sound of a million singing bowls, singing, salting

your howl, and the chant of your joy.


They are mostly good, and you learn the lesson hard

that the greatest gift you can give them is knowing when

to hold on and when to let go, and you must let go.


The day comes near fifty when your body begins its final chapter –

starts slow, builds unacceptable,

steals sleep, sanity, your strong and capable shoulders.

No one knows, has to know, but you

refuse to keep it secret, refuse

the nagging misogynistic whispering shame.


Your home is blessed, your husband and you,

still mad, making love, in love, vibrating true to your visions,

a home haloed in struggle and uncompromised ideals.

You meditate, make a routine and stick to it, as this transformation


lasts for years. Sweaters on, sweaters off, heat

first on the face then infiltrating your spine, down, down,

spreading like hot poison, flooding every pore.

When it has gone far beyond the tolerable threshold,

then it lets up,

only to return and begin again.


What a strange dream I have never dreamt before –

to receive the climb, lie down with babes, nurse other beings

into their own, to release the cycle, enduring

the havoc of becoming yet anew.


I should not cry but be praising, grateful

to finally spin a journey in this form.

It is a high road, can be

a life-long sermon, and such a strange dream,


weaving me a pair of wings to flaunt, maybe

never flight-bound but always love-bound and

rich, rich as death, a backdrop

to the pale but pounding pulse of dreams,

the nut-meat, nectar

of eternal pilgrimage.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” May 2018



Published in “Elephant Journal”, April 2018



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2 responses to “It is a strange dream

  1. This is a rich chronicle of what is is like to be woman. So much depth, color and feeling. It really covers a lot, encapsulates a lot. Everything from a tough childhood, being insvisible, finding love, creating life, letting go of the life and it’s identity building properties, finding yourself again and retiring.
    Powerful stuff. Beautiful poem.

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