The Dream Journal by Marilyse Figueroa
Dream: I am John’s hostage. Most lovers are.
Dream: The zombies run after me, Ilía, and other children I don’t know. Where is Ámara? Why isn’t she taking care of her daughter? They’re not my children. Only Ilía kind of is.
Dream: Abuela speaks to me like a train whistle. I wake. Just the railroad behind the house coming alive.
Dream: John is tip-toeing outside his apartment. My mother and I are inside. He tip-toes, but I can see through the gap in the front door how he slides his loafers back on before he inserts his key and comes in. My mother meets John and says, “He’s nice.” She doesn’t know what else to say, my black eye says a lot, she says, “He really does have beautiful eyes.”
Dream: In the old Tulsa house, I chase our dachshund Angel around the living room, crawling on all fours. She runs underneath the dinner table. She’s panting and wagging her tail. I’m laughing until I realize she’s dead in the real world.
Dream: Zombies again. Their stalking of us is only comparable to slurping. I have to take the children to our camp in North Tulsa. I am so scared I am so scared I am so scared.
Dream: Who says goodbye on the tarmac anymore? I’m the gray fur ball floating just above and out of John’s view. Most lovers are.
Dream (not mine): Mamá wakes up with a prophecy. Blue truck. Left hand turn. Crash.
Dream: Abuela rises from her casket. Tells me something in Spanish. I run into Dominique on the way out of the funeral parlor and ask her what it means. I hear the train. I forget when I wake up.
Dream: The hostage tries to strangle her kidnapper. Her hands are more than shackled, they’re paper thin. They can’t squeeze or rip. John sparkles as he laughs, her hands tickling his neck.
Dream: Rocks move around the volcano dancing on their edges and moving with the electricity generated by waves of supple heat and melting away their desires, their rough, chipped hearts.
Mamá tells me rocks in your dreams mean solitude.
Dream (not mine): Ámara wakes up screaming. The parrots were pecking at her eyes, she said on the voicemail, because I can’t pick up on the first ring. It means Abel paid a visit.
Dream: I ask Mamá about Ojo. She said I got it once as a bebé and when she put the egg to my forehead it burst from my fever. I think Abuela gave John el ojo. I burn sage in the mornings.
Dream: Dominique comes inside Tio’s house, but she won’t speak to Abuela who is outside in the yard with her glowing owl eyes.
Prima, I say, let Abuela in. She can’t come inside.
This is whenI meet mi alma. La loba blanca’s snarl frightens me. La loba blanca jumps out the window and eats Abuela into the void. I ask
Tío, who never dreams, por qué?
It wasn’t her, mija.
It was. Shadows.
Dream: Me, Ilía, and the children I don’t know go into an abandoned house. We aren’t even close to camp. The zombies, slurping again, after us, follow us. I clutch Ilía, her hair curly and paper thin like a new born’s though she is four and able to feel God in the chapel, I try to cover as much as I can of her with my arms. I won’t let her be taken. I am so scared. The children face the zombies with spoons. I watch as the children attack.I am so ashamed I am so ashamed I am so ashamed.
Dream: Abel’s house. The prairie country an hour away from the city, pretty house on the prairie. At least he was being a father. Abel sets up the blow up pool outside for us. I realize in my dream this is when Ámara still looked at her father like he was the answer to everything. Just as I ask, where is mine, the horseflies come and we hide under the water. Horseflies don’t mean anything except a sting.
Dream: Sign in Abel’s driveway reads “Sells Exotic Birds.” Inside I find our room in the basement next to the birds’ empty cages. Abel’s parrots attack Ámara in the bed. I watch. Shadows.
Dream: Abuela yells at Ámara and I, up in the pecan tree. We’re too close to the powerlines going through its branches, but we don’t care—we’re bored in their quiet desert home, bored every summer since we stopped spending them at Abel’s. I can’t understand Abuela and Ámara translates: “Bajan o morirás.” I realize I’m dreaming in my dream. I crack open. Abuela is dead in the real world. But the bark feels real and the wind, too.
Dream: Ámara doesn’t want to sleep in the bunkbed with me in the new Tejas house. Tears in dream feel like tears in real life. Mamá says, callaté niña! You live in Selena’s hometown! Closer to your abuelos! Fine. I could accept that. But I think we left Ámara behind in Oklahoma, on that pretty prairie.
Dream: On the tarmac, I follow John, a light on his back. I can’t control where or what my dreams make me. I only see his back. His coat is speckled with paint. Black coat, white paint. I long. I play the dream on repeat when I wake up. I play it until I vomit feathers into the toilet bowl.
Dream: Shadows. All over Ámara. Abel thinks I sleep through.
Dream (not mine): Mamá says John’ll be O.K. He walked away without a scratch, but his blue Ford was totaled. That’s what his email says. Oh, and he’s moving back to Corpus Christi. Oh. Good thing. I’m leaving.
Dream: I ask Mamá what a white wolf could mean. Mamá prays the rosary over my body as I lay on her bed, a tapestry of Jesús on the opposite wall; the one we inherited from Abuela’s bedroom, I remember those nights, feeling watched by the hugeness of Jesús when I slept in Abuela’s bed; Jesús blesses me with his palmas bleeding, the sangre in the back of my throat. Mamá says pray.
Dream (not mine): Ámara gets a visit from DHS. Ilía bruises easy, she says. Like me, see? My arm. Bruise easily. Ámara wakes herself crying. Won’t let me interpret the dream. Abel is getting out.
Dream: La loba blanca makes a den in my belly. It is violent, it is comforting.
Dream (not mine): “I was with an angel with white hair and brown skin. She looked like you. She showed me God and heaven” Ilía says. Mamá nods and wipes away a tear.
Dream: La loba blanca embodies. We hold his Shadow over the edge of the volcano. We throw the coat off first. Watch it burn meteorlike. Rocks come to us. Vibrate and circle around the red drips turning into streams and then pools and lakes of red energy. Holding John away from us. I say a blessing. A Ritual.
Dream: Ilía and I run out the back. The children survive, too, somehow I know this in my dream. Ilía is mine to take care of now. I clutch her tightly and we run run run run run run run.
Dream: La loba blanca is my eyes, teeth, pulse. I can go out of my dreams.
Dream (not mine): La loba blanca rips. John’s soul is purple, sparkling like the wolf’s cosmic tongue. I don’t just watch. I rip, too. John really does have beautiful eyes. Most lovers do.
Dream (not mine): Mamá has another prophecy. She asks Ámara and I to meet her on the beach. El golfo. Good memories here of before the house of parrots. She says, do you still see Abuela in your dreams, Daniela?
Dream: Every dream I dream I dream dreaming in dreams. Mamá says pray.
Dream (ours): La loba blanca spits out the parrots’ feathers. We’ve been in his house. We sent a warning.
Dream (ours): Ámara wakes up and calls, says, Toy. The birds were hatching. Macaws today, Cockateels tomorrow, Abel would say. I prefer the Macaws. More wild, more human. She dreamt it again. Ámara and I watching as a macaw hatches on the dinner table. Abel waiting for his baby. Impatiently, he picks at the shell. The beak comes, then the yellow and white gummy eyes. Abel sighs, only the runt. El pajarito is smallish, grayish, until it is Mayan blue and Aztec green. Feathers like long smoke signals. Abel named him Toy.
Dream (ours): Ámara wakes up screaming and calls me. The screen on her window was slashed. Just a dream. Hermana, doesn’t mean nothing.
Dream (ours): I pick up the phone in my dream. Ámara, I slept silently beside you. I was scared. La loba blanca takes me to the Shadows.
Dream (not mine): Abuela delivers a prophecy to Mamá. She’s with a ghost wolf. Mamá knocks three times, four on my door.
Dream (ours): Abel is tougher to rip. But we’re sending him to the void. Mamá can now sleep. Ámara can now parent. Ilía can now child.
Waking: La loba blanca licks my belly. I see myself hunched over, gripping her, my chest. I remember my heart pounding like 100 paws upon the hard prairie clay as we ripped. My heart beat so fast fast fast fast fast fast fast fast fast fast fastfastfastfastfastfa.
Dream (theirs): Abuela builds sandcastles with a little girl in trenzas by el golfo, the wind brings in monarchs black, white, and orange, aflame.
Waking: Ámara clutches Ilía. Mamá gives a blessing. A ritual.
Dreaming: Abuela braids the feathers into my white mantle. I clean my speckled paws, pink and red.
Marilyse Figueroa is queer Latin@ who grew up hearing fairytales, myths, and her mother’s cuentos from el campo. These inherited stories are the places she returns to write about the magic, light and dark, of este vida. Marilyse is currently a community activist/educator with Barrio Writers and Austin Bat Cave, and an MFA candidate in creative writing in San Marcos, Tejas.