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Last night I had a dream
that my father, six years
dead now, left me a message
folded into some kind of origami bird.
He left another for my sister.
I guessed since we were the oldest
of his children, he had
expected us to join him sooner.
There was a girl in the dream,
maybe a younger sister, maybe
a little dead girl sent as a messenger.
I don’t know how these things work.
Sitting at the table with the paper birds,
she unfolded mine and began to read.
I couldn’t make out a word
she was saying. I took the note
from her hand and his handwriting blurred
like a camera lens losing focus.
I woke in frustration, trying to will
myself back into sleep
into the dream of my father
where I was sure he’d tried
to cross over
like he had so many times
when he was living.
Copyright 2021 Al Ortolani. First published in Rattle.
Al Ortolani’s many books include Hansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street (Rattle, 2019)