Rebecca Foust

Dream of the Rood

 On me are the wounds seen.—The Dream of the Rood

You should follow your dream, whispered the rude
young yoga instructor, earnest, and bent 
on proving that pain could, at its heart, be good,

and that I ached from more than this hardwood
floor against my spine’s misalignment. I’d signed
up to follow it—my dream—but now I rued

the day I’d moved to this crazy state, loaded
with cord-stack—the family tree felled
by blood, smoke, and gin. Mom-and-Dad died

years before they each died. Light was divided
from light in every small pane, so I went
west. Burnt was the dream-shape of home, root

shaft, and crossbeam. In my first year of dead
and no weather, I wanted winter; I pined
for trees with no leaves and for any word

spoken in tongues. Stand, she said, on your head,
and it began to rain. Outside, upside down, 
a tree bled. I dreamt blurred redbud, the rood,
pane-pierced light, a dead tree in luminous bloom.