The brain is a silent movie forest.
Bare black branches, startlingly symmetrical,
bowing towards each other
yet keeping space between them,
like a gate waiting for the ghost.
In my dream everyone walked circles around you.
We were in a guesthouse,
playing TV trivia games in the common room.
You always asked me how I was.
You were warm and somewhat slow.
We became more than friends,
and that was when the other ones
stopped talking to me
and just let me tag along,
like I was wrong for having touched you.
I didn’t care.
But then I lost you inside a shopping mall
and came out in a different world,
where an old man grabbed me around the neck,
with thumbs like slugs wedged behind my ears.
I slapped him and got a punch back.
I walked home with a bleeding nose,
shaking with revulsion,
until I knew I had to wake up.
Outside, the overnight snow had already melted.
Trees swayed in the cold wind,
bare, almost black,
still keeping space for you.