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i had a dream about you by Joyce Liu

I had a dream about you last night.


It was warm. I’ve never been warm before, hands cold since birth, blue like my nail polish,

always curled into fists like I’m ready to fight or to cry, which are really the same thing, aren’t

they? I’ve been endothermic my whole life, trying to take and take and take and never getting enough. Never being enough. You have nothing for me to take. I am always giving away. A pair of fools, but two’s company and I’ve never begrudged a fellow idiot.


Let me tell you about the dream where we play basketball behind the school, skinned knees

and scraped elbows, an overturned skateboard with its wheels still spinning, a pair of shoes

thrown over the live wires, dangling by the laces. I don’t make a single shot but i win anyway.

You’re laughing and I’m laughing and your glasses are crooked, lenses rounder than the eyes they hide. There’s a road wreathed in gold behind us, a rain of leaves decorating the car.


I don’t know how to play basketball, and my shoes are slipping off the wire.


Let me tell you about the dream where we’re sitting on the hill and everything is just a little bit

tilted. It’s familiar but wrong, like someone took a photo of that first date and mirrored it. Our

scars are on the wrong sides, shoes on the wrong feet, kisses on the wrong mouths. You talk

to me and i sit there like a doll. You say you’re jealous and i pretend i can’t hear you. You say

you’re jealous and I’m ripping out the grass. Bald spot, brown earth, worms curling through

the dirt like i caught them changing at the pool. They’re naked, but they’re always naked,

aren’t they, worms don’t wear clothes and you don’t wear anger. Not well, anyway. Anger

hangs off your face like a porn star moustache, caricatured and campy, made somehow more believable by its exaggeration.


You are two different people, but we don’t talk about that. Who isn’t a little two-faced? And

yes, that’s meant to refer to two aspects, not two literal faces, but you and i have always

made it work until it didn’t. You have two faces and i have two hearts, we don’t really have a

leg to stand on. Two faces, two hearts, no legs. ha.


You never thought i was funny, but you use a Dvorak keyboard, so you don’t exactly have

good judgment, do you?


Let me tell you one more. We’re in a build-a-bear workshop. There are no screaming children, no overenthusiastic sales associates, which is how you know it’s a dream. You’re doing that little smile you do, the one that makes your eyes crinkle like a sad elephant, which i know you would hate but man, it’s true. You whisper something about not letting people see.


You hug me.


It’s warm.


Joyce Liu is a teenage poet from Ottawa, Canada. When she's not writing she can be found taking long walks in the woods and watching Formula 1 races. More of her writing can be found at https://colourofinfinity.tumblr.com/.

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