Dream Land

The smell of apples and what I thought was sage     Smell of the wind like the smell of stars arching over a house planted halfway up the hill     This is a love letter A dream of crickets and frogs, notes in the night     Orchard quilt of apples and pears     Laden limbs propped up by boards to keep from snapping

The sweet-musty dusk from a bucket of Lodis or Newtown Pippins by my grandmother’s back door     In the dream, my love letter to Cleman Mountain, ridge we all called by the wrong name giant creature asleep at the valley’s far edge

Dream visits from the city     Riding my cousin’s horse in borrowed shoes I lettered love by dead-heading lilacs, the clipped blooms in a heap     Dream with tractors, sprayers, machinery growling around me     The family histories tucked under my family myths

Things not talked of     Water, owning, running into irrigation ditches     The ditches replaced by sprinklers, their tch, tch, tch-ing that could spook a horse, bit in the teeth, tearing between the trees     Land, owning, and the hands to prune, thin, pick, load the bins and truck them

Hands as a horse’s height, dirt to withers     A hand as in writing     Love letter to the dream land, dream life I have not lived     If I could have hauled hay, mucked stalls and all that must be done, I don’t trust my hands now     When I think of acreage, my fingers ache

Afraid I’ll drop the dream I save     A life in love, the place I cannot claim     Dream letter to say love grows, its roots inching down, branches gnarled by time and bearing





Joannie Stangeland is the author of several collections, most recently The Scene You See from Ravenna Press. She has received the Crosswinds Poetry Journal’s grand prize and the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. Her poems have appeared in The MacGuffin, North Dakota Quarterly, Two Hawks Quarterly, SWWIM, New England Review, and other journals. She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop.

Latest Issue

Issue 91

More In This Issue