Last night I faltered in my dream as a hint of poison started to race in mocking circles, flaring into a mitosis of carbon monoxide, asphyxiating the air. I dreamed you, while they said listen, said you make certain, terrifying, choices about your life. Smiling benignly, they rip away your will to live Wrap it, cold like rewashed silverware and emboss it on the menu, etching a gold filigree of choice: Would you like the remission today or a month ago? The disease medium rare? Spritz sandalwood incense, seduce the rotting into a sinister black. They have a map of the world, of the brain, of my brain and my body, and there is the equator, and there is where you’re going, along the optimal path to falling off the edge of the world. There, there. Speechless in the dream, I strain to ask why it so shameful to be too weak to stand, to take a sabre for a staff? Because when I try to startle awake, it feels like stumbling, wild, through toxic air, my arms heaving and swinging at massive ghosts, Sprinting away from candlelit banquet illusions. They feed you until you’re drunk on silence, until you forget the balm of loneliness and breathless stillness, the erupting atoms underneath the proteins hormones serous fluid, circulating endlessly like stardust, Until you’re drugged, unseeing as the cancer metastasizes — seething bloody, bursting raw, thrashing out of body. Half-awake, the very thing, backwards, is still the same as you and I, backwards, inside-out and torn, worn-out, our hearts ripped open, thinking right wanting wrong wanting right writhing raw raw and writhing, right? your wanting wrong wanting right thinking of opening our hearts, ripping at worn-out seams, insides spilling out. Backwards, I am the same as you, still backwards, startling half-awake. No. They don’t have a map of me, my mind and my life. Nor of you. They can’t see our cycles of despair and triumph, nebulous clouds and mountain-texture, the single neon-lighted diner and slowly rolling fog. I don’t have a map either, but I am writing one. I am writing one in stone and copper and glass, in the faint glow of your skin and in the night air. I am writing from demon-spirits to salivating dogs, from subterranean tightropes to that slow, aching, freedom of acceptance — of hope, and maybe, of love.