Volume 34, Number 1

My last night in America I dreamed I was lost*

I dreamed I stole an ax, with the intention of breaking
into switch boxes at abandoned intersections
so I could turn all the streetlights green.

In the desolate city everyone I met was lost too. It was dusk
and the mob was on our trail, and we huddled together in our
orange jumpsuits in alleyways and broken-down subway stations.

On the radio they announced they had a video of the
ax stealer, and I ran terrified—even though I’d given
my ax to another resistance fighter long ago.

But I was just trying to help, I wanted to tell the radio.
I didn’t steal the ax. I just borrowed it so I could
help this city get back on its feet.

No, I don’t have it anymore.
I gave it to some lady with pearls
and shiny shoes who I met on the train.

I discarded my orange jumpsuit but worried that perhaps I’d
left my phone in the pocket. They can track me down with
I thought, or through the DNA on my comb.

At dawn I was on the mountaintop, near the hulking black mass
of the capitol building. You know, the place where the giant
Tyrannosaurus Rex statue looms over the city?

Meanwhile, the mob was closing in. Was
it a mob of fellow refugees? Or a mob
of Americans, out for my blood?

In my dream, I ran north.
In my dream, I didn’t
dare look back.

*transcribed from an actual dream, the night before we emigrated from the United States to Canada, June 6, 2017.

—Wess Mongo Jolley