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TRAVELING COMPANION

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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