|On rainy nights and mean red Tuesdays, when loneliness cuts
deep as a switchblade, and fear and loathing flow as freely
as the Euphrates, I dream of Appleglass Falls: that place
of soft edges and smooth landings, where the dark of the night
is blackbird blue, and the verdigris hue of chartreuse grass
by Lake Cottonsoft puddles with diamond dew. In meadows
where lovers picnic as the lion gambles with the lamb,
a kitten paw breeze never drops below twenty degrees
and brushes the tender alcoves behind uncovered knees.
No leafcutter ants crawl in the sward. No yellow jacket
wasps prick mason jars of jam or the flesh between bare toes.
Close to the centre of an antediluvian town
that fell fully-formed from a thrift store jigsaw, friends greet friends
by neat picket fences, their loose shirts kissed by sprinkler mist.
There, my memory palace contains many rooms: windows
open to dispel the gloom, peony curtains parted
in chicory wisps to welcome a flurry of sunsparked
halos, chinook handshakes and woodgrain scent of distant rain.
Such freshness carries on the air like pollen on bee legs,
and brings to mind the incepted dream of ambling beside
a petrol blue river with a girl next door in chiffon
polkadot dress, the sharp tang of fireweed and wild garlic
snagging on our skin and hair. A rope swing hung by children
dangles just above a patch of reeds where a flock of wild
geese sleep. Most evenings, we coast top down to a doo-wop
diner to guzzle foil-wrapped burgers and malted thickshakes
then on to a drive-in to watch the undead disturbing
their graves and bobblehead alien invaders raiding
suburbia. Later, from a moondripping windowsill,
the harmony of nightjar and whippoorwill lullabies
me into slumber where visions of forgotten summers
spool and expand in möbius strips of silent colour:
riding shotgun to the Dairy Queen for frosted soda pops;
stick fishing off Butternut Pier; spying wild caribou
and brocket deer hiding between strips of viridian
and teal in the dappled belly of Solitude Forest
on the county line. These memories, while they are not mine
but those of my daydream avatar, are superimposed
with glowing bars and light refracted from caramel stars.
In this spectral union of overlapping spheres, I slip
through the ellipse where the next world adheres to the one left
behind. It is as real as the pillow on which I rest.
|Ross Thompson is a writer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His debut collection, Threading The Light, is published by Dedalus Press.|