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By Karen Douglas
In my dream a woman
I barely know has just been told
she’s cured, can go home
with her children, who
are rifling through her purse
for left-handed, two-dollar bills.
Her cancer has come back and
I am all of these characters—
the one dying and naïve
as a child hunting rare currency.
And I am clinic staff,
an officious list maker, a self
in splinters, shards of a busted mirror,
cutting, irregular. I had thought
I was whole, organic as an eggplant,
not a brittle glass broken
at the whim of gravity.
The dream cast takes its bow,
no encore, and I leave the theater
aware of a one-time performance,
not a film to rewind, edit.
I trust the next production
to bring me news from backstage.
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