Dream of My Abductor
I woke up in your car
seat, didn’t I? It’s been so long,
so hard to remember.
Did you buckle me in?
It doesn’t matter.
The look on your face
when you turned from
the road, said shot-gun
wife. It didn’t say love,
which was a comfort.
Warmth through my limbs
my lungs, some kind of drug.
you pointed through the windshield
into the fantastic night—
remember?—and the spaceship
dipped its nose through the clouds
like it was saying Hi. A net
of twinkle lights.
Like your young, you carried me,
my arms, my legs folded
into day break through the long
hallway of a wood.
You lay me down
in the middle of a room
and I became a secret
then, but not a bad one.
And then you emptied me, sweet
abductor—away my footprint,
my name, my me: we said
goodbye to everything.
Goodbye great green room.
Goodbye red balloon.
Did you kiss me then? I couldn’t
lift my head, though remember well
my tongue wrapped tight
around a word like a pearl
you culled from my mouth
that bloomed in your palm
like petals or a Polaroid
of someone lost.
We Run From the Bear, We Are the Bear
Remember the dream about the bear
the size of a Subaru? It wasn’t about
that bear, but the other bear
it was chasing. It was big, too:
fur raised, wetted ends.
It chased us into a stream
of traffic, and the inevitable happened.
All the people left their cars
but we kept speeding ahead,
past everyone with their mouths
ajar, standing in the bear-rain.
They were baffled, baffled,
but we weren’t.
It was like we’d lived it before.
And some days we live it again.
We fugue through entire weeks,
then look at our hands to remember
our hands. We return
to being shadow-children:
bear cubs, bear hugs.
I shouldn’t have ever been so small.
This is something we tell ourselves.
We remember tents, forts, closets,
back when we were gymnasts
and fled to the safe tree
leaving our thick bear suits on the grass.
Within our furs we were something,
but something terrible, like a horn
in the abdomen. Outside them
we were the tiniest nothings.
You can’t chase nothing.
This, too, is something we tell ourselves.
RYANN STEVENSON was a finalist in the 2013 Yes Yes Books open reading period and winner of the 2011 Academy of American Poets Award at Columbia College Chicago. Currently, she is the Chapbook Series Editor at Phantom Books Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Blunderbuss Magazine, American Letters & Commentary, the Columbia Poetry Review, and So to Speak.