I dreamt that a porcelain wife allowed us into her perfect pink and lime green home
and prepared a formal meal reluctantly.

It was in the place where I used to live.
and I was wearing a tattered, thin cotton, dress that kept sliding off
and so
I crouched naked on the floor hugging my knees against my chest
as my mother sat in an exquisitely reupholstered chair
and sighed at my shame.
My father was there too and when we gathered to eat he
glared at me from the head of the table.

I tried to speak, but the words caught in my mouth like tiny fish bones
and so
I chewed and chewed and finally swallowed them.
They pricked and dragged slowly down my throat
and got caught in my stomach, undigested.

After dinner I helped the woman’s daughter hand wash a delicate China tea pot.

I found my dress and slipped it back over my head.

I thought of going back outside to explore my old neighborhood.
I wanted to stroll on Main Street and casually look for forgotten friends from days long-passed.

But my son was there.
He was holding my grandson.
It turns out he had been there the whole time,
but he pretended I did not know him.
He was lying on his back on the couch
with the baby sleeping on his chest
just like his father had once held him and slept.

I asked if I could hold the baby
and my son looked at me blankly as if he did not know what to say or do.
I leaned forward and gently took my grandson into my arms
but I did not know how to hold him.