Writing Prompt #2: A Dream

I love it when I have really crazy dreams that could provide good material for my writing! Usually, the best way to do this prompt is to free write about your dream as soon as you wake up, and then wait a few days to turn it into something presentable. As always, if you get something you like, please link to it in the comments! I’d love to read it!

A month or so ago, I had a really great dream that must have been influenced by everything I’d been reading – Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, and Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland novels (the “heroine” is her character, September). I ended up turning it into a poem for my poetry writing class. I’m not quite satisfied with it yet.

Dream

Last night, I woke up in a tree.
I was a child again.
Dry leaves filled my mouth. My knees shook,
as I balanced on top branches so thin,
they bobbed under my weight. I shifted from foot
to foot, knuckles white in the green
leaves, sap sticky against my palms.

I had that feeling in my chest again.
That falling feeling. That same one
I’d just had, back in the apartment,
when he’d said I don’t know,
running one hand through his hair,
his eyes crinkled at the corners,
and went for a walk,
at one in the morning.

Jump! Jump! the other children yelled.
Three of them clustered around the trunk,
upturned faces like pale blooms in the grass.
The wind teased my hair, dancing
through the branches. I let go,
and in that way of dreams, I only had to blink
before I was staring up at blue sky.

The girl with the curling hair and bright eyes,
the one from all the stories,
pulled me to my feet. She led me
through tangled trunks and the crunch
of pine needles, to a bungalow in the heart of the woods.
A woman with wisps of white hair, bent
like one of the trees, served us tea
in brittle China cups painted with smudged roses.
It tasted of loneliness, and burned the edges of the hole in my chest.

I know loneliness, the Might-be-a-Witch said
as the heroine stroked my hand. She knows love.
The heroine showed her dimples. What do you know, child?
I had to admit that I didn’t know much.
I was still learning. It wasn’t going well,
I didn’t mind telling them.

The heroine never gives up, the girl recited,
folding her hands in her lap. She sticks it out to the end,
and snuck another sugar cube when the witch wasn’t looking.
Nonsense, the hag snorted. Everyone gives up.
Just like everyone leaves. Her spidery hand shook, spilling bitterness
across the white tablecloth. It’s the heroes and heroines that come back.

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