Wishful Thinking

︎︎︎︎︎ Benjamin Read
︎Oct 3, 2023

In my dreams, I want to say that I see all my friends,
and there is wine. It’s all about

where you place the prepositional phrase.
It’s called a dangling participle, and I experience distance
hanging around my neck like your arms.

I write into my dreams like a blankness in order to design
and generate strangeness—for I am wishful—

as if that will save me anything, kept in reserve.
I thought I could hoard everything I thought to be.

I bragged about my eyesight, and the visual
surrounded me like a cloud.

Words and phrases keep sounding
wrong to me. I hate to run and I have never fled
from anywhere, but I constantly stumble

backwards, on the phone, out the door,
away from the camera and the screen.
When metaphors are available in stock,

it’s the hyperliteral that’s strangest.
The real charges toward the matador, and I want to say
so much to you.

In the sky, I learned how to find Orion
the night the war began.

I couldn’t find anything in your face,
or I didn’t want to change it.

The next day, everyone is talking about everything,
like usual, and no one says anything about it.

Benjamin Read is a poet and librarian from Spokane, Washington. His poems have appeared in WA129 and The Adroit Journal, and he received the Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Prize in 2020. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.