I dreamt constantly
(though they said you can’t dream, frozen)
of a girl I’d never seen.
But her indefinite backdrop –
was it a beach? a “meadow”? –
annoyed me so much I tried
constantly to resolve it and couldn’t
gaze adequately at her arm lifted
behind her head, or decide
whether she was self-conscious (i.e.,
conscious of me) and hence more
attractive … I haven’t mentioned
dreams.  We’ll have time
for speculation in the sick months
ahead, as the probes bring up
viruses, and antibodies transform
and prepare us.  Now –
still damp and bluish-pale
from sleep, and cold, so cold –
we stare down at the planet.
Measuring our own and each other’s
awe and triumph, trying
not to say something inane –
or to see only ourselves
where, turning below us,
those waves approach that shore
and glaciers, warmed by spring alone,
pour into lakes.  So that
the black smoke of ego
will never cover
those unimaginable grasslands …
Suddenly I realize: she
was standing in a snowfield
among high peaks, entirely
heedless of the cold and whether
I missed the target sun and slept forever.

 

Continue to “The Unpleasant Man”

About the Work

Frederick Pollack

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. Other of his poems and essays have appeared in Hudson Review, Southern Review, Fulcrum, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), Representations, and elsewhere. Poems have most recently appeared in the print journals Magma (UK), The Hat, Bateau, and Chiron Review. Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Snorkel, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Denver Syntax, Barnwood, Wheelhouse, Mudlark, Shadow Train, and elsewhere. Pollack is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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