and force me back to the life I left,
to be stalked by the vapors of battle,
to choke on sweet mornings.
But nightmares lead me
to shed skin in my sleep.
I sometimes awake refreshed,
a peeled peach.
Nightmares prodded me repeatedly
through Midwestern temblors
toward a harbor of young mountains,
toward breadth and awe.
Belonging to no one,
nightmares go where they want.
I don’t know where or when they rest
for such a vigorous vocation.
To nightmares, then, my love and gratitude!
For their guidance and compassion.
Thanks, and a sack of oats.