This is a poem that I wrote for my poetry class at Berkeley City College, and it received good feedback in workshop. It was based on several dreams I had. “Calabash” is a gourd. I have no idea why I was dreaming of a gourd, or where I heard that word. Dreams are strange.


By Christine Lias, c) 2015


You hold me close

In the moment and

I feel your hands gripping my waist

Both tough and tender

I look down and there are flower petals on the floor

But then suddenly the floor melts into a pool of water

The flower petals become water drops

I lean down and touch the ground, now a pool of water

I dive toward the bottom of the pool

Diving fast, like a bullet, or a train

Toward the concrete bottom —

A hard, flat, rough edge at the bottom

I’m on my own in the water here

There is no one to hold me anymore

No hands gripping my waist

No one to protect me.

I protect myself now.


There is a storm drain on the street

Running toward the Bay

And there is a pool of blood

Flowing down the gutter toward

The drain.

The flies are gathering on the

Blood that is headed toward the drain.

The blood is sticky in spots

Where it is not moving.

The flies are relentless.


I hear the word “Calabash”

And the word “Calabash-ish”

From someone saying the words repeatedly

I wake up in a panic and

Tip over the table by my bed.

The little drawer falls out and my heart beats fast from the sound.

I have not been able to sleep through the night

Since last year.

I wake up every night in the middle of the night

Hearing a sound from somewhere in the building and

I cannot fall asleep again until the light falls through

the flowered curtains hanging at the window.