Nathan and I Dream in French

Barbara DeCesare

Why do you carry your hat in the rain?
Chapeau, chapeau, I gave you the wrong word.
My French is terrible, but better in dreams,
especially if I?m drunk before I fall in.
We were drinking from the gutter, I gave you
Apeau—does that even mean anything?
All over the sky the accent circonflexe swarm,
a rain of scissors,
swoop down to eat chocolates out of our hands.

I saw the photos you took of the boy getting his hair cut,
I saw the shoes, the boat, the birds.

The photos and the dreams are different than Actual Paris,
where I meet you and
you take me to the apartment,
tell me your petite chou is due soon,
try to remember the name you wanted to give your daughter, but
Je suis fatigue. J'oublie. We are drunk.

That night, we forget the word for ice in separate dreams:
I am skidding in the car and you are asking a nurse
Avez-vous quelque chose pour transformée l'eau en neige?
before and after.
This was supposed to be a dream, Nate,
but who understands you here? You can't even get ice
for your wife who's crying:
Elle est morte. Elle est morte.
Wake up! Wake up!
Pourquoi tu porte le chapeau sous la pluie?

 

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