Typical story: alone on an island. New twist: whatever you dream
will come to life. Wanting company or to dare even leave the stagnant sand,
you tell yourself to dream of something useful: and the next morning,
you wake to seven flares. For a week, you shoot flares into the air,
no one comes. But each morning, you wake to a new delight:
Monday a bed to sleep in, Tuesday green bananas, Friday a pillow.
By Saturday, already-ripe avocados welcome you to the day. As expected,
you are getting arrogant, lonely, and want home. God-like,
with that filthy pride, no crowd to applaud. You want to go home.
So tell yourself to dream of a sailboat and strong winds. Almost home!
You wake and there’s a horse mistaking your hair for alfalfa, mistaking
you for his owner, and you know nothing about horses.
So you dream that you’ve already read through the encyclopedia
labeled H and have learned horses don’t really like saddles, don’t really
need apple water-soaked bridles to keep them content. Instead
you dream of a water trough and fertile soil to replace the sand. The horse
sleeps open-eyed and standing up, but you already know this has something
to do with fear. New day, no water clinking into the tin. New day, and the
grass seeds stay seeds. He looks at you looking at him, and both of you know
this is no place for a horse. The next day, you wake and the horse is gone.
Assume your dreams were filled with horse-eating creatures. The kind with teeth
that can rip through strong thigh muscles. Maybe wolves, maybe furless tigers—it doesn’t matter.
He’s not coming back. Or you dreamed of a field with tall grass and wildflowers
in a place where it’s always April. You dreamed of other horses, then you dreamed him there.
Sean Cho A. is the author of “American Home” (Autumn House 2021) winner of the Autumn House Publishing chapbook contest. His work can be future found or ignored in Copper Nickel, Pleiades, The Penn Review, The Massachusetts Review, Nashville Review, among others. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of California Irvine and the Associate Editor of THRUSH Poetry Journal. Find him @phlat_soda