I dreamt you were a naked doll, sized true-to-life. You were assembled like the art manikin I use for sketching, only your head was your actual head—your face was arranged in a placid expression. A random little girl had fished you out of a cold river, and I snatched you from her greedy arms as she was celebrating her catch.
“She’s too big for you,” I cried. Cradling you, I carried you away from the shore lowly lit by a dull sun, and into the damp grey woods. I was chased by faceless men who wanted you, and I heard the little girl lamenting. “Fuck you! She’s mine,” I kept yelling. “You can’t have my mother!”
Then you were alive, penned in a clearing. You were dressed in a red shirt, and faded blue jeans. I couldn’t make out the silent words rushing from your mouth. I could only pay attention to the man with a sword. You were murdered in front of me. I saw the long blade enter you through your back—through your thoracic spine.
The death scene repeated like cruelly spliced film. I watched your face fade away and reappear again and again, for an immeasurable space of time, until the phone began to ring.
Stood in the driveway of our house in Lapeer, I kicked at the loose stones, waiting for the ringing to stop.
“It’s for you,” said someone lounging in the bed of a pick-up truck. An unrecognizable guy with long, dirty blond hair. I took the tan receiver, and pressed it against my aching head.
“Mom.” I knew it was you. And I knew you were dead. I know you are dead. “I love you. I miss you so much, Mom.”
There was a long, crackling silence. Then you said, “I think of you all the time.”