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Dream of the Sword Swallower by Lisa Lerma Weber

I dreamt about a sword-wielding woman

chasing me through a landscape of abandoned buildings

and thick foliage, all of it looking monstrous

in the moonless night. My screams for help

echoed through the empty landscape,

no one answering.

No one ever answers.

At one point, I looked back

(they say you should never look back),

and saw the woman had stopped moving.

I should have kept running, but didn't.

I wasn't running fast enough anyway.

I never run fast enough.

The strange woman then slid the sword down her throat.

I looked at the small knife in my hand

thinking to aim it at her unguarded back,

but instead I just stood there staring at her—

hypnotized, frozen.

Why do I always freeze?

After a few moments, the woman pulled the sword out

of her throat, then looked at me with wild red eyes

before resuming her hunt.

In the morning, I told my husband about the dream

and he asked why I didn't throw my knife at the woman

while she was vulnerable.

Vulnerable = ready to be cut open.

But there's something dishonorable

about sticking a knife in someone's back. (Though

the back is where so many of us keep our knives)

And I was awestruck by the woman's ability

to swallow that sword without slicing herself open.

I think about all the knifing words I've swallowed

and the torn places in my throat burn.


Lisa Lerma Weber has weird dreams. Her words and photography have been published online and in print. She is a prose editor for Versification. Follow her on Twitter @LisaLermaWeber

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