Dreams are Poems: Sara June Woods

the dream

I was sitting in an outdoor seating area, possibly at a restaurant or something. Maybe on a college campus. There were booths like the booths in a restaurant and all of a sudden these turkey vultures came down and were perched on the back of some of the booths. They were about 2-2.5 feet tall. People were really kind of freaked out and I remember thinking "oh they must be attracted by the meat people are eating." They slowly started coming closer to me. Then they started beating me with their bodies and heads and wings and clawing at my scalp. Everyone else in the eating area was freaking out and screaming and eventually I blacked out from the pain. When I came to, I was in a room with windows, maybe a bedroom, with my girlfriend and a trans man I didn't recognize. I told them about the turkey vultures beating me until I blacked out. Irene (my gf) asked me if I was okay and I said I thought it hasn't really happened. That it was a dream or a vision. Then I looked out the window and there were 5-6 more turkey vultures outside, throwing their bodies against the windows. I said "they're outside right now" and it was clear I was the only one seeing them. I then looked up in the sky and there were thousands of turkey vultures flying in formation in the skies.

artwork by Carabella Sands

artwork by Carabella Sands

Specifically they were in the form of this toy I had when I was a kid. 

the poem

The dream opens in a public space, outdoors, sun shining and pleasant. Nothing out of the ordinary until the vultures show up. Turkey vultures are one of the most widespread species of vultures in North America and, like all vultures, they are scavengers. They eat dead things. They find dead things to eat with their eyes and they smell the gases of rot.

The crowd senses something is about to go wrong. To the dreamer, the attack feels like a betrayal. A terrifying betrayal of common knowledge, the vultures violating their natural role as scavengers, going for fresh flesh.

Perhaps the vultures have smelled something in the dreamer - a memory, a love, an obsession, a past - that has died. Something that must be carried away, something that must regurgitated to feed the babies (to feed new life). The process is painful, to be sure. The first dream scene ends in a blackout.

The dreamer wakes in a room with a lover and a stranger. There is a moment of near lucidity - was it a dream? Was it real? The dream asserts its own reality as the vultures reappear, though only to the dreamer. Perhaps the vultures are meant only to be seen by the dreamer, whom they want more of - perhaps they did not finish the job of extracting what is dead.

There are many, many vultures. They fly in the shape of a toy vampire. Did they really consume the flesh of the dreamer or are they just playing?

 

 

Katie Foster is a poet/witch living in Denver. She recently graduated from Bennington College, where she studied literature and French, met some ghosts, and honed her magic. Her first book, Animal Problems, was published by Electric Cereal in June 2015. Want your dream interpreted by Katie? Check out the Dreams are Poems guidelines here