Last night I woke up from a great sex-dream
that wasn’t a dream at all. I was scared of myself
for even when I was unconscious I was willing.

The real self is very scary is a line I stole from a poet
who, I’d bet anything, has also been awakened
by her lover in the middle of the night, half aroused
& half terrified because she wasn’t in control.

But when am I in control?

Half the time I am dreaming of my students
sprouting a second set of arms & wrapping them around me—
of their being so strong they carry me without a struggle
down the hall to the principal’s office, where I am reprimanded
for showing them a poem about human grief.
Half the time I am clawing my way out of a dream
about my mother growing flowers
from her chest so she’ll look pretty in her casket,
& her hair falls out by the handful.

I don’t know if there is a God
despite my mother trying to convince me of him for 24 years.
If there is a God, then I’ve definitely never been in control.

Or have I—

I am thinking of certain men who I have awakened
& stolen from their tired lives. Of men I’ve laid down in groves
of poison ivy & pleased under the moon, which was cliché
until just now when I reclaimed the moon.
Moon, you have seen me control the hands of men, have you not?
These men, who I have let have me.
To whom I have said, the real self is very scary.
& I wasn’t lying, was I.

Katie Condon