Thugs in the Kitchen (Dream Journal 3/95)


Maybe, it's because I didn't sleep last night; maybe, it's because I was awake when a gang of thugs entered my house through the back door and baked sheets of cornbread in my kitchen; maybe, it's because I'm scared, but for whatever the reason, I don't want to go out on the Mississippi this morning. It's brown with silt.
I know I told Aaron I would go, but I just can't get organized, and besides, I think I'm afraid, afraid of the flooding water. For a moment, I think, maybe, this is a dream. How could we be on the Mississippi? I don't remember leaving SFO. We know nothing of rescue missions. What is this? My existential angst kicking in? Yes, that's it, a dream. I try to shake myself awake.
Instead, I remember that in 1949, when the dam broke in Portland, nearly 200 people drowned, and some of the bodies were never recovered. I used to believe that my fear began then, but now, I think I've always been afraid of drowning. It must be the worst way to die. Holding my breath until I can no longer hold out against the pressure. The water pouring into my lungs, me choking, hoping that I'll hit my head on something--anything hard--that will knock me out before I run out of breath.
And the cold. Flooding always comes in wintertime, January or February, cold and raining. I join the rescue, but something goes wrong, and my body floats to the surface like so much rotting mango, ripe and oozing like an open sour. My body floats just out of reach.

First, I hear four cracking pops almost like fireworks.