Bewildering Stories

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by Paul Carroll

How dear they are,
Margarite, little Mary, smiling Agnes,
Ramundo with giant arms,
Chou Chou, Kit Kat, Poodle dee Doo
And all the sweet creatures I don't remember.

When I am asleep
I feel their hands upon my skin,
laugh at funny things they say
hold them in my arms and comfort them,
run around in their imagined world
exploring eagerly the places they know.
thinking that I have been there before

But they sometimes play
an inconstant game.
They run away and hide
quickly, skillfully,
crouching behind my confusion
until they don't exist
and I forget all about them,

Is it my fault? Am I to blame?
Do I only pretend they never were
and hide them deep in the bottom drawer
of nether consciousness
for no reason at all?

Are the lovely shadows who inhabit my dreams
transformed by some dreadful lack of perception
into solid people who walk on solid streets.
people I know, or once know.

I miss them, I really do
these never creatures,
these dainty wraiths,
these smiling illusions,
that hide from the sun

I know they aren't real, never were
In any reasonable yesterday or even now
in this pragmatic hour unremembered
as I file them in a soulless machine
and brush away the vagrant scent
of loneliness.

Copyright © 2003 by Paul Carroll