Consciousness slips into my dreams
and imperceptibly awakes me
but the night leaves a message for me
as I venture into daylight.
My hand prods for a black covered
notebook. I ink down something.
Now an incipit marks the glistening
surface, like the vanishing prints
of a sleigh dog on snow. A few words
to be repeated like a nursery rhyme.
A few letters, the name of a station
where the train didn’t stop. I will
chant them out loud or whisper them
softly as I bridge across reality falls,
their corrosive vapors. Keep
the conch shell tight in your fist
to ensure a safe trip, said the shaman
before I drank the potion. Or was it
the fairy godmother, at birth? Hold it
tight, they insisted. I did.
And I’ve got the trip. Not the safety.
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Toti O’Brien (she/her) is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise Press, 2020), In Her Terms (Cholla Needles Press, 2021), Pages of a Broken Diary (Pski’s Porch, 2022) and Alter Alter (Elyssar Press, 2022).