Dreaming to Life

By Laurie Kolp

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Last night I dreamed I died and went
to hell. I have no idea why I went to hell—
I’ve been a good girl.
Well, maybe it had something to do
with my fib about the accident.
A train did not really derail.
Its caboose did not come loose
like a fishtail whipping
around, wrecking my car.
No, that fishtail was some man’s hand
a slap on passenger seat
where someone else’s—
not mine, I’ve been a good girl—
beer can sat on my lap
and then rolled all over the upholstery
and then spilled all over the floorboard
all over my smoke-filled clothes—
from his cigarettes, need I remind you
I’ve been a good girl. But the spin made me
naked, my body now misaligned
as this stranger’s hand-slap slide
down to flatten tire around
my waist, down past
my thighs like a slippery
fish out of water.
I was forced to leave my car and race
to the convenience store on the corner
to buy some ice—and no,
it wasn’t for the train conductor,
I’ve been a good girl. I just needed 
to escape the claustrophobic way I felt
inside that closed-up space,
needed relief from probing hands
needed to free myself from being a bad girl—
because really, I’m good—
needed to escape my living hell.
Last night I dreamed I died
but in reality, I came to life.

Laurie Kolp