Last night I dreamed of Simon, dead these many months,
and woke wondering if the dead dream of us,
their dreams of our every-days magiking things banal:
coffee as philter, stones casting spells, bread as manna,
blue jeans regal dress, busses chariots.

Our dead not dead to them though we the living must seem to be,
misremembered vaguely. Their dreams, like ours,
would seem to them symbolic – surreal and portentous,
half-recognized memories reflected as in black ice. While we,
when they dream, are images; airless, pallid
they frequently can’t clearly recall.

Presuming that we are in the “real universe”, conscious in
time and space except for a few hours of insentience yet –
could it be we exist only when the dead dream
as they when we dream them? Truly interdependent. As I age
there are so many who live only in memory, when I sleep.
So do I, only as shadow of what the dead knew of me?

Is “reality” see-sawing, shifting residencies
through dark glass less tourist
more citizen of the other side?

Ellen Peckham has read, published and exhibited in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. She frequently uses both art forms in a single work, the text decorating and explicating and the image illuminating. Her archives of drafts, edits and art are collected at the Harry Ransom Center For The Humanities and a 7 minute visual biography, Parallel Vocabularies, is available on DVD and via her website,