One of the deep pleasures of this blog is discovering poets I hadn’t encountered before whose work dazzles me. Today it’s Megan Nichols, whose poem I first read in Poetry Daily. My mother, a psychoanalyst, was a thoughtful interpreter of dreams. It was her forté–she could ask the right questions to eke out the often confusing meaning. So I found this poem especially vivid and moving as it cascades to the action of the ending.

Interpreting Dreams

If everyone in the dream is you
(and everyone in the dream is you)
then when you stand naked in the classroom,
you are the classmates, the teacher, and the flesh.
And when your mother drowns you in the tub
you are the mother, the child, and the bathwater.
And when all your teeth fall out at once, think
of yourself as not just the Chiclets clattering
to the tile, not just the empty mouth gaping, gums
softening like frozen yogurt melt. No, think
of yourself as the fall too, not the thing that will fall,
or the thing that has fallen, not the force behind
the falling, nor the thing that falls. You are the verb,
the act of, the motion as it moves.

Megan Nichols

from Threepenny Review


I saw this poem in Poetry Daily a few weeks ago. I love especially the lines “For you / have been the sand to your own blaze.” It says so much, so efficiently. Larry did a broadside of  Adam Zagajewski’s poem, “R says,” about literary rats a few years ago, that had this line drawing by Roberto Chavez. It goes pretty well with this poem, too.


For your cities, thank you. For your
big noise. For the rain-glossed, thin-skinned

bags of food. For the tunnels, the candy-
pink shell of your walls that we map

by feel, by oilsmear, around you, the richest
place in your house. For poison blunted,

your undersink arsenal defused and dead
by overuse, by you. Thank you. For you

have been the sand to your own blaze.
For you have been a gentle sentinel,

letting us slip in around you,
cryptic, slick. This is what

we hope you’ll take in for your pains:
we’ll stay, I promise, by your side

at every step, like the guns
you love to use till they’re

empty: click click.

Karen Leona Anderson