The Dream About Losing Your Hand
COLIN POPE
In the dream about losing your hand,
you’ve somehow stumbled into a tribal ceremony,
deep in the jungles of Cannibalia. Your pith helmet has fallen off,
you’re running down the game trails, away
from the whooping and hissing locals,
spears and darts whizzing past your head.
What have you done? Aren’t you a god to them?
When the time for the proof of your power arrived
you must have made a misstep in the intricate
waving of your arms, the timbre of your voice must have failed,
the volcano didn’t explode on time. Aren’t you, after all, a god?
Didn’t you just sprint a mile in three seconds, the ground
an emerald blur? If you stop to rest against this tree,
couldn’t you make a python suddenly appear,
wrap the steel lung of its body around your wrist
and inhale?                         And if the pain became unbearable,
couldn’t you jump into the air, shake loose
the snake and the coil of your own aspect,
and watch yourself jump directly into yourself
from ten thousand feet below? Flying? And awakening,
wouldn’t you be made so powerful
by unfurling the ancient scrolls of your body,
checking the codices to be sure the prediction of your hand
was regaining itself, patiently and numbly,
from the other side of reality? How
would you ever fall asleep again?

COLIN POPE's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2012, Slate, The New York Quarterly, Texas Review, Linebreak, and The Los Angeles Review, among others. He was the 2011-12 Clark Writer-in-Residence at Texas State University, where he teaches in the English Department, and he's currently poetry editor at Southwestern American Literature. Originally from Saranac Lake, New York, he works and lives in San Marcos, Texas.