September 4, 2014

Hazlitt regular contributor Lynn Crosbie is a Toronto writer and Ph.D, who teaches at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Gallery of Art. She...

December 14, 2012

I was dreaming when he came into my room,
Alfredo had just agreed to sing and I reached for my glass, my jet curls trembling and my gown, gloves, shoes, all violet:
Libiam ne'dolci fremiti che suscita l'amore,
For love, I tell my son, peering out of the gynoeceum of my dream,
at him, stock-still in the corolla.
He is carrying a large duffel bag, and dressed in the smart slacks and sweater, green with red zigzags, I left out for him.
Darling, it was the strangest thing, I say.
When the ladies danced, their legs beneath their crinolines were rifle
I had a dream too, he says.
You and I were playing Dance Dance Revolution, and you were so good!
He scratches at his face.
Whenever you got to the end of “Lily Funk,” you would start it again, but
the lights were different—
I am not listening. He looks so small, he hasn’t talked to me in days.
I am holding him in the desert, carrying an empty gasoline can.
In the distance, a yellow SUNOCO sign struck by lightning.
I buy us both some cold water, and get him a tiny pine tree.
We walk back, through the radiant sun and his little hand on my face,
Rainbows curving from the lines towards us, the unreal haunt of pine.
I have felt pure joy, I tell him, sighing, and he smiles.
Withdraws my Savage MK II-F rifle and starts shooting until my face is
Nothing but a mass of camellias.


I played School Shooting, and re-taped one of the trash bags falling off
My window. Ate three pieces of toast, cut on the diagonal and coffee
Milked to the right, almost tawny, color.
I have never dreamed about my mother.
Last night, I dreamed about that cat she brought into the house, the filth
She brought into the house, sometimes her hair tangled in the drain or Her soiled uniforms in wretched piles,
Of post-apocalyptic pandemics; babies, demented and dangerous,
Beautiful, yes. Tender, toothsome, all that. But deadly.
Ants feed bees to babies. Ants will overtake to win.
Cup and plate in the sink, rinsed and two inches apart;
Change into three two black shirts, a yellow vest, black Fingerless
gloves, yellow earplugs, black pants: killer bee.
Bag another rifle, I’m happy for you. You loved your guns.
I say, briefly grasping her hand
Where the fingers have fallen away.


On this cold December night six adults (I am falling through an orange
sky; He wobbles when he walks, and my lips water; I forgot we were
being tested, I will fail; my husband is looking though me, I see a cage of
bones in his eyes; she is my baby, the tiny one in the hat with the biggest
pop-pom; I keep getting lost, please wait)
                                             And twenty children had twenty dreams:
Akito Hayama (Kodomo No Omocha) keeps punching a light bulb
How Dad makes the cow-face, make the cow face!
If stars are dead why are they zooming around?
It is late and I should be home, I want to go home
Voltran bending light like an accordion
My cat has clouds in his eyes because he’s old, my mom says
I want to touch her soft, braided hair
The huge bully making black eyes on everyone
Numbers from math joining letters and slashes and sideways pyramids
My good jacket, the really cool one
They won’t let me sit with them again and a wolf attacks them
When I can breathe again I see my mothers eyes in a haze of tears
Did you see that she was wearing big pants? Under her dress!
I got to stay up late because of National Velvet
The baby bird pecks its way out and peeps for a goldfish cracker
Mom ordered the moo goo guy pan; dad ordered the moo goo guy kew
The fire has reached my bed, I have to scale the walls like my lizard
Please, don’t, please
The teachers with glasses fight the ones who see really well
Mom ironed a square of flannel into little squares I touch it to my cheek


All of Sandy Hook’s sleepers minus the shooter dreamed fairly well
They shopped in the same dream stores, feared the same red,
marauding tractor and growling dog; they were nervous and happy and
fretful, all kinds of things.
The next night they met in the mist and built a monument; they chiseled
all the names and ages, little numbers,
And fell to their knees for Jack, Allison, Benjamin, Victoria, Mary, Lauren,
Avielle, Jessica, Caroline, Noah, Emilie, Anne Marie, James, Jesse, Chase,
Catherine, Madeline, Dawn, Dylan, Ana, Josephine, Olivia, Rachel, Daniel,
Charlotte and Grace.
Their hands shaking—one girl wore a blue flower in her black hair, a
boy with orange hair smiled so shyly
Shaking off also, the dream itself, over time until there are only
remnants, like the lines that pillows leave in skin.

Hazlitt regular contributor Lynn Crosbie is a Toronto writer and Ph.D, who teaches at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Gallery of Art. She writes for a number of sources including the agency Young and Rubicam. Her latest book is Life is About Losing Everything.