Laughter by Gary McDowell

She dreams she lost her leg in an accident,
her tongue in a keyhole. Mirrors aren’t vain,

they’re revisionary. At the corner gas station
a local MC gives away mix tapes and sells

hand-rolled cigars. He asks what I do. I tell
him I’m a poet. Mister poet, brotha poet,

this’ll get ya so high your wings’ll burn,
. I dream I’m flying, the lake below

and the tree-lines: studded green rivulets,
narrow wisps of extended dry-bays and off-shoots

of forest. She dreams she birthed a puddle,
a scarf knit of silk and driftwood. She draws

flowers on the back of her hand like a grade-schooler,
colored ink for the blooms, black for the stems

and tells me, I’ll trace a pattern now, stem
to petal and around, petal back to leaf
. She

sways into night’s ark. She sways into an attic,
her miles throated: the unseen and bed-sheets.

What does it mean when you stab your wife
in your sleep and don’t wake up yet jolt easily

when you dream of croutons and taxidermy?
Yesterday I ran over a turtle. The tire stuttered,

then dropped—the resetting of a dislocated joint.
The reverberation through the car made my wife gasp,

say oh my god, and I just shook my head,
couldn’t believe the noise escaping my mouth.

Editor’s Feature in TQ1: An Interview with Gary McDowell by TJ Jarrett

Gary L. McDowell is the author of Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral (Dream Horse Press, forthcoming) and American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010) and is the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press, 2010). He lives in Nashville, TN.