I reach for the kite string but it’s your dream
not mine, a gray New England dream—gray
sky, gray trees, gray ice. Light bleeds
even from the snow. The kite is the only color
in the first dream you remember. Awake
you cannot name the color, its shimmer
of light against gray. You write that London
was clear and sunny for Christmas, Pip’s city
clear of chilling fog. You would have loved
Pip, loved him while he loved Estella
who could not love him back: I know,
I would have too. And he would have broken
my heart like the beautiful broken kite
in the first dream you remember. Your father
took the kite from you and fixed it.
But the dream flickers. You wake
to the sound of voices: it’s Freiburg now.
Smile. Du kannst nicht anders.
Tell us a story. We know you love
the occasional adventure, the lure of eyes
that open for a moment behind the haze
of smoke, the walk back home at sunrise,
innocence restored by sweet sin. You can’t
go home again. The kite will never fly.
London, Paris, Berlin—you’ve made them
all your own, but some mornings you wake
in Quail Oaks anyway, a thousand houses bare
and ugly as their yards of pounded dirt,
empty as the imagination that dreamed them.
You will go back, you know. You can go home again,
fly the kite in the first dream you remember.
An earlier version of this poem was my contribution, as Featured Poet at the
Houston Poetry Fest , 1995