I wake when grief, like a wet dog, sops into my bed—
from a dream that I am gifted one week to relive with my mother,
but I must choose from the slideshow of moments
before light. They say your entire life rifles before your eyes
at death—that it’s the mind’s way of rapid searching
memory for a way to escape and survive. It knows
how it must have been there before, found an emergency
exit, or window to shatter, door to lock. I chose to relive the week
she taught me about safe spaces and words no harmful
stranger would know, how to spot signs in windows or stores
if I was being chased. She made the world seem like a bed
of tulips I could trample and be greeted with warm cookies and juice.
But now a bar / a church / a school / a theatre / a restaurant /
a yoga studio / a concert /. I try to remember how many words
can unscramble bullet, because insanity is expecting another
result. I can only recall that the synonym for forty-five is gun.