Valerian
I woke up to the sound of the peacock screaming. 
It was early morning, but not yet light out, so its cry, 
which sounds like a child’s lonely call, was alarming—
even for the city, and even though I know it lives here, 
guarding the children’s garden with its distressing voice 
and cumbersome tail. I was asleep and dreaming about
a place I had gone as a child—a lake with amber-colored
water in which our dog liked to swim. His nose—the breath
coming through his nose—made little chirp-like sounds 
when he chased the sticks we threw for him. Despite his
enjoyment, the sounds he made had a fearful tone, which
woke me up—both he and the bird woke me—the combination
of their similar noises spanned the separate realms of being asleep
and being...I almost said alive. Awake. The lake had rough
rocks offshore like shattered islands, and a shallow beach
where we’d washed our hair, bars of soap bobbing 
at our waists. At night, our dog slept soundly because he swam
so much—we all swam; we slept well too: when we were
young, we slept like the dead. Perhaps it was this revelation
that woke me. The bird continued to cry as I tried to retrieve
the dream, if only to see our dog again, now long gone, shaking
on the shore. But nothing was left; all was lost—only water:
black and empty as the hours before daylight.
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