Jill Khoury

Aspects Of The Dream Are Aspects Of The Dreamer : 7

I throw your stuff in the river. That’s pretty much what happens. Everything in banker’s boxes except for the large tablets and portfolios. My room mate lends her van. Its unmarked white panels say I’m doing nothing here. I turn the wrong way up one-way alleys. Slash a streak through pedestrians by the courthouse. A suit tapes a scribbled notebook phrase to my windshield: You have immunity. I cross beneath the overpass into the park. Someone has curated the grass ridiculously. A teenager twists balloon animals. I pull onto the bike trail, unlatch the back and jettison your stuff. I’m not very gentle.

There is a sign: Throw Your Artifacts in the River Day. I line up under it. Like a Greyhound station’s ragged aisles, all that baggage, some people desperate to say goodbye. A woman unclips a velvet rope made of crime scene tape. I start tossing. My debris doesn’t go as far as the others. A box of charcoal pencils falls apart on the rocks. I keep hurling until my arms burn. The last sketchbook separates when it hits. Water darkens the edges of the pages, infiltrates the center. I take more than my turn in line. There’s heckling. Everyone’s a little tense.

I follow the disintegrating paper so hard my eyeballs start to shake. This condition is called nystagmus. It’s one of the things I have. Dusk materializes the way it does midsummer. The clubs on the south shore light up. The pencils stay on the rocks. I backtrace to the van, which seems massive. Empty, I stretch out on the floor. Each of my vertebrae announces itself. Astroturf itches my bare back. I conjure a rash, red Rorschach blot. Insect with its wings on fire.


Jill Khoury earned her Masters of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Sentence, Harpur Palate, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and RHINO. Mark Doty picked her poem “Certain Seams,” as a third place winner in the Split This Rock 2013 poetry contest. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net award. Her chapbook Borrowed Bodies was released from Pudding House Press. You can find her at jillkhoury.com.