Dream of the Anxiety Clinic

by Shannon Castleton

I float through leaves to a sign,
“Anxiety Clinic”—the building glass-fronted
and next to Ultimate Bodies
where men and women twirl in their bright skins
like fish. A woman asks can you say circadian rhythm,
explain how we see dreams with closed eyes?
Wrapped in gauze, a man slouches
next to me. I unwind him—so much wrap
my arms are knotted in it. The woman says
meet your grandfather found crushed
and drunk at thirty-six beneath his horse trailer.
He calls my name with music like tears.
I think where is my father who dreams you back?
And my father comes, presses his face
against a window. Even in my dream
he is tired of dreaming. He is peering
through the glass for bodies he can’t see.
The woman chants who will hold him?
She deals numbers and orders us in line, me in front,
my grandfather plaid-shirted at the end,
my father alone, his fingers tracing veins
on his wrist. I smooth his hair with my palm.
I love him with short words I don’t understand.
When a voice calls time, I have already left him.
I am a sheer body unfolding in light. I lift
my arms and blur past the window.