Featured Poet

Patricia Gomes

( Massachusetts )

_________________________

Warm Milk and Habaneras
```
There is theorem
in the dark; there are conclusions.
A slight chance
at falling asleep fast enough
to catch
the fiery tail of the dream comet
that propels one into logic and bright ideas.
A slight chance
to solve
the riddle of why you sleep
of the bed.  As away
from me
as humanly possible.
A riddle, a puzzle, a dichotomy … never discussed
in sunlight.  Never discussed at all.
In the deepest of sleeps, in the flood-muddle-est
of dreams, the ones where stairways shrink
when climbed,
and homework has been forgotten again,
and the heart-pounding bell's about to ring, but the dog remains unfound—
in those dreams you are
whatever you are not
when I am awake:
the fixer of stairs,
the bringer of homework,
the finder of lost dogs.
There is theorem
in the dark,
and I have concluded
that I like you better
in dreams.
```

1st draft — note the error in red.

Warm Milk
```
There is theorem
in the dark.
A slight chance
to fall asleep wicked fast
and catch the flaming tail
of the dream comet
that propels one into logic and bright ideas.
Solve the riddle
of why
you sleep with the covers pulled
of the bed.  As away
from me
as humanly possible.
In the deepest of sleeps, in the flood-muddle-est
of dreams, the ones where stairways shrink
as when climbed,
and homework has been forgotten again,
and the heart-pounding bell's about to ring, but the dog remains unfound—
in those dreams you are
whatever you are not
when I am awake:
the fixer of stairs,
the bringer of homework,
the finder of lost dogs.
There is theorem
in the dark,
and I have concluded
that I like you better
in dreams.

```
30 lines, one noticeable error, totally unsatisfied. Let's go to the second draft.

2nd draft:

Warm Milk
```
There is theorem
in the dark.
A slight chance
to fall asleep wicked fast
and catch the flaming tail
of the dream comet
that propels one into logic and bright ideas.
Solve the riddle
of why
you sleep with the covers pulled
of the bed.  As away
from me
as humanly possible.
In the deepest of sleeps, in the flood-muddle-est
of dreams, the ones where stairways shrink
when climbed,
and homework has been forgotten again,
and the heart-pounding bell's about to ring, but the dog remains unfound—
in those dreams you are
whatever you are not
when I am awake:
the fixer of stairs,
the bringer of homework,
the finder of lost dogs.
There is theorem
in the dark,
and I have theorized
that I like you better
in dreams.

```
Still thirty lines. Typo gone, but I'm still unsatisfied. Why? No stanza breaks. This poem, like many others started in that lovely state of half-awake/half asleep. I like that state; it's a lazy state and lazy states come with pauses. Pauses in a poem come from stanza breaks. And I don't like the word flaming — it's overused. "Wicked fast" needs to go, too. It may be how we talk here in Massachusetts, but it's not a universal phrase.

I not pleased with the line breaks: when I read this aloud, my voice breaks the lines differently. Also — there's no proper end. A good poem, like a story, needs a beginning, a middle, and an end.

3rd draft:

Warm Milk
```
There is theorem
in the dark; there are conclusions.
A slight chance
at falling asleep fast enough
to catch
the fiery tail of the dream comet
that propels one into logic and bright ideas.
A slight chance
to solve
the riddle of why
you sleep
on the outermost edge
of the bed.  As away
from me
as humanly possible.

A riddle / a puzzle / a dichotomy … never discussed
in sunlight.  Never discussed at all.

In the deepest of sleeps, in the flood-muddle-est
of dreams, the ones where stairways shrink
when climbed,
and homework has been forgotten again,
and the heart-pounding bell's about to ring, but the dog remains unfound—
in those dreams you are
whatever you are not
when I am awake:
the fixer of stairs,
the bringer of homework,
the finder of lost dogs.
There is theorem
in the dark,
and I have concluded
that I like you better
in dreams.

```
Much better. The opening is tighter. Flaming has given way to fiery. The stanza breaks slow my voice and my mood, hence, the reader's eye. 36 lines, not unreasonable. And by coming to a conclusion:
```
There is theorem
in the dark,
and I have concluded
that I like you better
in dreams.

```
I now have an end. Not liking the slashes in the second stanza, though. Combined with the ellipsis, the line looks too busy, too chaotic — once again, taking away from that dozing off state.

I'm not pleased with the title. I need a little fire there because I am slightly pissed. Fiery/anger/heartburn??? What better than peppers.

4th and final draft:

Warm Milk and Habaneras
```
There is theorem
in the dark; there are conclusions.
A slight chance
at falling asleep fast enough
to catch
the fiery tail of the dream comet
that propels one into logic and bright ideas.
A slight chance
to solve
the riddle of why you sleep
of the bed.  As away
from me
as humanly possible.

A riddle, a puzzle, a dichotomy … never discussed
in sunlight.  Never discussed at all.

In the deepest of sleeps, in the flood-muddle-est
of dreams, the ones where stairways shrink
when climbed,
and homework has been forgotten again,
and the heart-pounding bell's about to ring, but the dog remains unfound—
in those dreams you are
whatever you are not
when I am awake:
the fixer of stairs,
the bringer of homework,
the finder of lost dogs.
There is theorem
in the dark,
and I have concluded
that I like you better
in dreams.

```
Viola! — The poem, she is finished!

Next - Lynne Knight

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