Put Me on the Dashboard and I Will Guide

The star says put me on the dashboard and I will guide

— Melissa Studdard, “Migration Patterns”

In dreams I’m in the grocery store and no one is wearing a mask, I keep asking and asking but they pull them below their noses and onto their chins. I’m looking for cat food to feed the stray and two kittens my Mom and I found behind a bowling alley, which is closed again on account of the rising COVID cases, so what are we doing there?

In our old apartment complex, someone has planted beans and tomatoes on the empty lawn, but the kids in their red-brick houses ride their bicycles through them, and no one is wearing a mask.

In dreams I’m driving to Arlington, but the road runs along a river, down a steep embankment covered in trees, there’s a house dug into the hill and a garden and a lawn fenced with wicker. The owner has a shotgun, and he is not wearing a mask.

Further along the river we drive past the docks, the whole area rickety and wooden like a frontier town that hasn’t been painted since the 1890. The streets are crowded, and no one is wearing a mask.

We try the woods, ride a switchback road, walk the green valley, but there’s other hikers and no one is wearing a mask.

We’ve got the moon in the trunk, and she’s looped a mask from ear to ear, her smile hidden by the glowing fabric. Put me on the dashboard, she says, and I will light the way.

Photo by pixpoetry on Unsplash