Never am I hungry as I am at 4am,
shoved awake by the desperation
I stave off in daylight with words and housework.
Waking, I set out a feast of intentions.
At night, they come back to feed on me.
Once I had a dream that turned out to be true
that a cat was being devoured by a demon outside my window.
In the night version, the cat had wings it couldn't use--
or didn't--and shrieked like a subway train.
The attacking beast was a shadow and a metaphor.
In the morning and again that afternoon,
I stepped over the bloodstain on the sidewalk.
In the day's course, my son swore it was the chupacabra,
and I heard thirdhand about the likelihood of coyotes
and the very distant chance of a mountain lion.
Then, my dreams were radial and spacious,
night-long affairs seeded with the probable
and quickly multiplying impossibilities
until the clock ran out.
Middle age dreams crowd closer to the truth--
the just-missed flight,
a tree collapsing the roof of the car,
my children going missing--
maybe because panic comes so easily now,
maybe because we think we can subsist
on the bemused relief of waking to some other catastrophe.
Perhaps old age will herald the return of the fanciful,
will celebrate the languorous meal I have become
with the accumulated fat of menopause and worry.
In the new dreams, as the metaphors gnaw toward my bones,
I will beat my ragged wings on the ground
to push up and survey the scene below,
not much body left to speak of,
and wonder at how delicious the burden of years has made me,
at how the beast licks its lips and sighs, contented,
before drifting off to sleep.