by Nicole Stellon O’Donnell
This will end when you wake, but in the moment you don’t know the dragon is fake and that cliff is only three feet high. You’re missing that the tiger behind the third door looks like your neighbor but isn’t quite your neighbor and actually is your neighbor knocking on the door. It doesn’t feel right, and it’s not because the plane isn’t crashing onto Mount Ararat where you’ll find your accountant waiting with a bag of kittens and a yellow smock. You’re not naked, and you don’t have a flamingo head for a penis. You’re not flying, and your hands aren’t on fire. You’ve never won a fight with a robot. This time won’t be any different. There’s no reason for that coffee cup to have three handles. There is not going to be a mafia-style massacre in this restaurant in three minutes, so you don’t have to run. And you’re not having sex with her. You will never really have sex with her. Afterward, be glad because she will not turn into your boss and tell you you’re fired.
Nicole Stellon O’Donnell’s novel-in-poems, Steam Laundry (Red Hen Press), won the 2013 WILLA Award in Poetry. She has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Women’s Review of Books, Belling-ham Review, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She has been awarded an Individual Artis Award from the Rasmuscon Foundation and a Boochever Fellowship from the Alaska Council on the Art.