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Peripheral Dream Sequence, a poem by Daniel Brennan

Peripheral Dream Sequence

I have a dream

in which my father is the villain. 

No, wait,

let me start over. 

I have a dream in which

I am the villain

but my father made me, 

which makes him the villain

too. The dream

is like a car crash in my 

peripheral vision, a sequence

of grinding metal and rubber

and flame when he asks me, in a fury,

are these your drugs? and I laugh

because the drug in question

is my own hot blood, 

viscous and unforgiving on my hands.

My mother storms into my childhood bedroom;

she tells me my father

isn’t real. Not that he doesn’t exist,

but that he’s trying not to. He’s trying to escape his own mess.

He’s trying to escape

the drug of settling for less,

so easily swallowed in your youth

which is also my youth which

is also this dream sequence

in which my father

is the villain but I am 

too and so is my mother

because despite the doped-up rush

of licking our wounds over the years,

we can’t help but make each other this way. 

No, wait, let me start over;

memory, that’s the villain. 

Daniel Brennan (he/him) is a queer writer from NYC, who spent his childhood in the lush Blue Ridge Mountains of Pennsylvania with his many siblings and an ongoing menagerie of pets. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Passengers Journal, Garfield Lake Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Sky Island Journal, and ONE ART, among others.