GAIL ENTREKIN : The Benefit of Dreaming
CHARLES L. EAST : THE KEEPING
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GAIL ENTREKIN
The Benefit of Dreaming
for Denny
I hope this is a dream. My brother is cutting wood in the yard at his old farmhouse, the one he sold after his divorce 20 years ago, and the power saw he's holding slides along the branch, slits his jeans, bores into the white flesh of his thigh in the time it takes him to gasp. He stands and we all stare at the color sinking out of his ruddy face, collecting somewhere in his body and appearing all at once at the tear in his pants, welling up in a long line before he drops to one knee, shaking. But isn't this real? Don't two or three of us spend the whole afternoon and evening at the ER in Lancaster, watching farmers with severed digits and old men with heart attacks carried into the inner sanctum? Don't we wait and wait and wait, my brother holding his leg together, lowering his head now and then to avoid fainting, until finally they sew the tendon end-to-end and we all go home? In another dream or memory, my brother and I sit on dirty orange shag carpet in his living room – no furniture – no food in the fridge – nothing but beer. We lean against the wall of this last chance apartment and both of us are crying. We look to be in our twenties, yet already each of us has failed at something we really wanted: law school, marriage. At least we are a little drunk. If there is some important secret our parents forgot to impart, some family curse we are swiEeing in, at least for tonight we are swiEeing in it together. This is the benefit of dreaming. Doesn't he call to tell me from 3000 miles away that though we thought things could never get worse, though in fact things got a lot better and stayed that way for years and years, now they are decidedly collapsing around him. He has lost all his money; his wife, the very bloom of his heart, is leaving him and taking the little boys whose growth sustains him; and he has just come from the hospital where they looked grave, murmured insulin, needles, blood pressure, pills, ulcers, pain. And then he saw that for all of this he cannot pay. In this dream I tell him that I too am waiting, listening to the word lymphoma repeat itself again and again in the discordant music of my nights. And though we don't cry, holding our phones, looking out on opposite oceans, we confess how we do weep suddenly in our car or shower, how this breaking is a small and puzzling comfort.
POETRYREPAIRS 11.09:102
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CHARLES L. EAST
The Keeping
Unto my keeping
wert thou given me,
that I might love thee
with all my soul
to the end of my days…
and adore thee in the autumn of my years.
I have loved thee beyond life's measure,
beyond the treasures of the earth or sea
or the boundless reaches of the deepening sky.
If the sun should quietly rise
upon a dreaded day…
and thy final sleeping mercifully unburden
the hours from me,
my futile weeping shall only cease
with a last and desperate breath…
and with all my failing strength,
I shall once more
softly whisper,
with love…
thy name.
POETRYREPAIRS 11.09: 102
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The Benefit of Dreaming TOP  The Benefit of Dreaming ©  GAIL ENTREKIN  .JH not the best of people, not the most suEeessful people; but, this brother and sister DO create a beautiful and lasting relationship beyond what 'family' forces on them.
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