Other People’s Dreams

by Nicholas Spengler

In a town named for sleep, cradled
in high rock, there’s an ancient church
whose bells toss and turn
at hazy intervals; a few cows in the yard,
their own bells clucking
except when they bend to drink,
bell submerged with muzzle
in that element no toll can escape.

Half the houses here are shuttered
against the mountain gales,
the other half hollowed like shells
whose clenched denizens
loosened their grip,
lost themselves to sand and tide.

We’ve made a habit of touring
other people’s dreams.
The view of the valley
an inspiration, or a warning;
this crescent of stone a fortress
from frost and evil.

We’ve come for those terrible
angels of the nave,
dozens of eyes staring wide awake
from the dark down of their wings,
in each hand an ember
they’re pushing past the lips
of prophets: whose vigil,
whose restive dream ?

If this is a ghost town
we’re the ones doing the haunting.
Whoever set stone on stone,

cut slate shingles now
bedded with orange lichen,
we are the filaments
of their cold imaginings.