POETRY May 1, 2020

Same Dream

My mother tells me  
that when she can’t fall asleep

she puts on Shostakovich
and imagines a ballerina

dancing. I don’t tell her
I have the same dream, asleep

and awake. Neither of us
has ever pliéd or pirouetted

or had a man cup
the slenderest cut of our waist

as we dove into an arabesque
while the orchestra

swelled beneath us
like a tide. Neither of us

has ever danced
like that, like wind

on a moonful of poppies.
Neither of us has ever

been silk, slipper, porcelain.
Her childhood was rotten—

her father raised hell,
molested kids, picked scabs

on the bellies of sins.
Neither of us knows

the great composers and how
they possessed those violins

to sound like stars falling
through fingers. I knew

my father’s slurred rendition
of “Runaround Sue,” the hollow

sound his pick made when
he dropped it in the black hole

of his guitar, said god dammit.
Neither of us has ever

been a chant on the breath
of the body, a heavenly

thing. How did we dream
in double, find ourselves

in the pale spotlight
of the same enchantment?

How did sleep find us, finally,
as our skirts whirled

on the edge of nothing?

Regina DiPerna's poetry has appeared in Boston Review, LIT, Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, 32 Poems, and others. Her chapbook A Map of Veins was published in 2018 by Upper Rubber Boot Press. She lives and works in New York City.