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I wonder if the world is going to miss itself? I wonder how long it has celebrated this secret in its hands? What I need to do — take down all those turning leaves. That's what we have here in New England — turning leaves. Need to help them down, each one. Rest them on the ground. This is desire for the cure, for the first imprint of what survives.

Read the willow tree when it grows, make a short sound of it and send the sound down river, move out of the way and wait for instructions. Practice my knots. Rearrange the books.

In my dream, I have become religious, given up doubt and the weight of doubt and the weight of the broken promise. I have tried taking faith and tried letting faith take me. So God knew how to make an entrance and told me the winter came, but I did not believe in winter, and fancy dancers danced on my chest.

In one idea, I honored this fragment as the former life of a building and the life of the lives of buildings. In my dream, God punished the keepers of memory for forgetting to light his candles, and he lit them himself. In one idea, I tore apart the pantry looking for matches, and the fancy dancers knew what would finish me. In my dream, God said the ribbon is for the sweat of fancy dancers and God said I couldn't have one of my own, neither ribbon nor any fancy dancer. In one idea, I turned in every direction and prayed, because I didn't know in which direction God preferred to listen, or if he listens, or where he's gone in his retirement or in his disgust, and then I forgot to believe, and then I stopped.

—Jeffrey Levine


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When I fell asleep I didn't dream about the impending "war" nor the horrific images of people holding hands and leaping to their deaths from 104 stories, nor the repeating clip of that plane blasting into a building I've been in, nor the two towers imploding, falling to the ground like they'd finally had enough. I dreamed of going to visit a French horn player from the Chicago Symphony and her family (someone I met this summer in my neighborhood) with Rosemary and Celia Rose. In the dream I was feeling confident and charming, full of pithy conversation and talent. As I sat on her beautiful sofa, I looked around the house at her paintings and furniture and loved being there among "taste" and money and fine breeding. I felt I was entitled to be there and I felt good about it. But then, the conversation came to a full stop. My own voice trailed off feebly. The silence was as awkward and thick as the smoke in lower Manhattan. I realized at once that they were disgusted with me somehow, that I'd transgressed some boundary, and the horn player confronted me about my character. I felt small and hideous, writhing in the terrible heat of self-loathing. I woke shaky, as if I'd been shown some deep dark side of myself that I hadn't been able to hide. I was depressed by the attacks on my character in the dream and I've had a strange morning in its wake. . . .Perhaps the national calamity has permeated all our subconscious avenues. . . Dreams tell us such painful things. But in a dream, one is not just "you"; one is also the other characters in the drama. Maybe I was also the horn player, disgusted by what I perceived as false and shallow.
—Christine Hemp