Dream Sequence with Drained Spectres1

after Frank Bidart

They first come to me in waves of lilac frost,
balming the carpet until it is cold to my touch.
They call me friend, so I let them stay.

Soon I taste the salt. I fall into an endless pool of loden green.
They lift me out, limb by limb,
inhabit me until my memory is dysmorphia,
until all I feel is yearning
to the earth.¹

Night after night, I watch them march,
their quick, even strides dizzying me
from within.

This is the start of the universe—
every origin theory begins with a pulse.
I press my foot to the ground & they scatter.

In my recollection are all the things
I’ve conveniently misplaced.

I take a step & suddenly they empty
themselves, becoming apparitions of gold
glitter and dust before settling to the ground
in ceaseless fright—

When I wake up,
I can feel something twinkling
at the edge of my memory.

1 The phrases “drained spectres” and “yearning to the earth” both come from Frank Bidart’s “Guilty of Dust.”

About the Author

Anika Prakash is a senior in high school and the editor-in-chief of Red Queen Literary Magazine. Her poetry has been recognized by The Adroit Journal, Scholastic Art & Writing, and the Writers’ Theatre of New Jersey, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a Platypus Press anthology, Red Paint Hill, Noble Gas Qtrly, Hobart, The Ellis Review, and Glass, among others.