A few nights ago, my mother killed me
in a dream. Last night, we died together.
A snake with a shovel-cinched neck
rose its lack of head to me and I cradled
it in a choke, mocked it for dying,
and in that lonely moment,
its brother ripped a loose vein
from some part of me almost dead already.
I made attempts at screaming
through the sleek screen of my keyboard,
my fingers tapping on the phone
like Morse Code from a swallowed ship.
My mother, a wilting thing already,
looked into me, said,
All of this could’ve been avoided
if you just called home.
I am thinking about the dial-tone distance
today, recounting each loose coin-piece of choice,
turning it over in my palm like an unsure jeweler,
bluffing for the money. In the moment,
I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing,
and after the fact I still can’t tell.
I’ve heard you’re not meant to die in dreams,
at least not fully, but being killed
is more relieving than I thought it’d be,
some karmic cosmos of streetlight finally blinking green,
some cold-poisoned vein flowed through once again.
Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They received their Bachelor’s Degree in Creative and Professional Writing from The University of Pittsburgh. They are the recipient of the 2018 Gerald Stern Poetry Award, and have work published or forthcoming in Third Point Press, the Southampton Review, and over twenty-five others. Follow them on Twitter @kara_goughnour or read their collected and exclusive works at karagoughnour.com.