Leveler Poetry Journal
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I can’t stop talking to strangers in my sleep

about what it means to dream

I live in my home,

the house where I touch my eyes

but still there they are, two giant dryers

rocking bloody clothes.


When I’m not sleeping, I picture my body

outside, a deaf thing I speak to

without using my hands.

I want to take my body to the park,

let it touch all the dogs, ask how old they are.

I want to walk my body on a building’s edge

and let it look down for no reason.

Bring my body to a grimy bar. Order it water.


I go to the bus stop and there’s no bus,

just some old lady who’s probably young

asking me about wrestlers and chicken wings.

I get a text message about Wisconsin.

The sun makes me sweaty. Maybe it’s my clothes.

I have all these groceries.

I remember a friend on this street once said to me,

“I don’t want to go to the grocery store and think about what I need.”

I need a bus, to water my plants, to put these vegetables in the freezer.

Get home where I can sing off-key to the baby who isn’t mine,

push his stroller to the cul-de-sac where I talk about circles and dead leaves.


Dressed in black, my hot chest carries the sunlight home.

The room blues. A text message about how a haircut

makes her feel like herself again, but who is she?

Someone on the Internet likes my photo of a TV screen.

I want to take a nap but my body won’t let me

like it lets me fuck strangers, alphabetize my pantry,

lie to my shrink. In the dark backyard, I’m holding a shovel,

pressing my fingers into your thigh, walking to elementary school

and it rains all over my pretty overalls.

With a shovel full of dirt, where’s it go?


I remember I left something in the washing machine.

The baby is pawing at soft blocks in the morning light

and I want to tell him a story.

I stroke his hair in the direction it is growing.

Stephanie Goehring