There are too many parts to the story


the sleepwalking itself

as scary as it is

only if on waking

the dream she thought a construct

lodged in her brain

actually occurred


she did really walk out

of the front door, and down

the street, around the corner

another street to the house

of a friend


but the remembering is like a dream

remembered in pieces

if the ground was wet, or hard

if her nightgown kept her warm

her blistered feet

the only physical reality


other than that

only a dream


the coming back

climbing into bed

while everyone else

slept the normal dreamless

sleep, or even regular old

humdrum dreams of taking

a taxi ride with a favorite Aunt

getting green and orange striped

nails then watching fish jump

the regular old dreams we all have


this was one of those

but real

real scratches, real dirt

real blisters

real walking the streets

at night, barefoot


a mother wants to protect

her child from this

would sleep next with arms

around, holding, every night

whispering calm

sensible syllables

songs of peace and love

whatever it took

to anchor her child

to the real bed


a father would sleep

on the floor

on a pallet with his pillow

every night

if he thought this would

be the best place

the safe place


a sister would pull a chair up beside

read a favorite story

maybe “To Kill a Mockingbird”

a story grounded in detail

and real people


a story she has loved

would want to hear

again and again


so never again would her sister


and her mother's arms would be strong

and her father would rest on the hard floor

to keep her

so she would be safe