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Ten Nights' Dreams
(after Natsume Soseki)

Lee Ann Roripaugh

7. B. Head

A rough hand fists your hair and your head metronomes like a watch on a hypnotist’s
fob. Your body an inert carrot abandoned on the cutting board. Crowd throbbing below,
their shouts stretch like slow taffy, frizz of effervescent sparks behind your eyes. The
bobble-headed, doll-like faces fade.

8. Book ‘Em, Danno

Late for the airport. Panicked frantic packing of nonsequiturs, as if you’re a refugee
fleeing the fall of your own unconscious: A lidless jar full of sea monkeys covered with
Saran Wrap and a rubber band, a protractor, art glass dildo, shoebox full of ball point
pen springs, a spatula you intend on using as a passport.

Madcap scramble down the highway which soon turns into gravel road, which soon
turns into a winding mountain pass, which suddenly runs out altogether. Rushing
water everywhere. Steep drop-offs. Clearly, you’re lost, but you’re late, so you
keep driving. Rushing rapids smoothes out into airport runway, and you race
toward the soon-departing plane, old school movie style—burnt rubber, squealing
brakes—startling a cluster of nuns waiting at the bottom of the opened staircase.
You step out of the car into the black swarm.

Cue the theme song to Hawaii Five-O. The nuns stop their ant-like milling and
dance a snazzy twist. Slow-mo, the staircase to the plane serenely lifts and retracts.
You see now that the plane is not a plane, but a departing space-ship.

Heartbroken, you run toward the disappearing stairs, waving your arms in the bright
hot circle of light. Wait! you cry out. Your tears are real. Take me with you!

Lee Ann Roripaugh

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