Midnight Chaos by Joan Mazza

Midnight Chaos

Again I’m back at Twin Oaks,* wanting to fit in,
be useful. But I’ve spilled olive oil – a lot of it—
on a new rug and I’m trying to clean it up.
The soy sauce is in a flimsy plastic bag,
unmanageable and heavy. Someone’s pushing
cars out of a second story window to let them
crash below. A nearby shelf with old lanterns
shakes, about to fall and smash. Some people
are going swimming but the sea is in the shade.
I’m chilled, want to lie down on a picnic table
that’s in the sun, but too close to shore. Oh, no!
A cow and a goat are loose in the kitchen.
And now I’m working again as a microbiologist
in a hospital. No one trains me or tells me what
to do. I see urine cups on the counter and decide
I’ll plant them on agar, but I don’t see the book
for recording specimens, don’t know the next
number. Someone says they don’t use numbers,
but write the patients’ names on the Petri plates.
Even in this dream, I wonder how one would
distinguish the patient’s plates set up from different
sources. I’m to write a number on each patient’s
face, but the marker doesn’t work. A patient laughs
with me at this absurdity. What a mess the counters
are. No blood agar plates, no set procedures.
I’m confused, dismayed, but not afraid. Am I shunned?
I wake up tired, but I can’t be fired or evicted.

*Twin Oaks Community, www.twinoaks.org


Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops nationally on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam). Her poetry has appeared in The Comstock Review, Potomac Review The MacGuffin, Slant, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, The Nation, and many other publications. She lives in rural central Virginia.

One thought on “Midnight Chaos by Joan Mazza

Leave a Reply