I dreamed her again last night,
the French woman on the cruise ship,
the one traveling alone with a small child,
hair long and brown, eyes green as grapes,
sitting on the deck, the two under a blanket,
taking in the rugged Alaskan coastline,
while paying the price of a chilly sea-breeze
that knifed the cheeks and whipped the flags around.
The most beautiful woman I have ever seen
but the rest of whom she was, regretfully only imagined,
my fantasies applying warmth to her reined-in smile,
knowledge to that seamless pure-bred brow.
In fact, whoever it was I dreamed, it wasn’t her,
for my subconscious made no allowances
for the irritable, the cold, the angry, the nasty,
the rumpled look of first thing in the morning,
the headache-filled traumas of last thing at night.
No gossip, no unkindness toward others or small animals.
No hint of jealousy, or mistrust, or moodiness.
I drained the self from her, replaced it with my fantasies.
What chance did she have of being a normal, everyday person
once my capricious mind reconstructed her
with nothing to go on but surfaces.
If she could see into my head, she wouldn’t recognize herself.
But what could she expect. I’m no mirror.
That is, unless I am the one looking into it.