We are at war and I am on a train leaving for the country.

I am troubled because I suspect it might be better to spend the war in the city.

Out the window I see soldiers cooking lunch in kitchen sinks and other unlikely containers.

Their fires burn cheerily and I am jealous of them.

Beside me is a man from my home town.

I think he should recognize me but he gives no sign of it.

I wonder if perhaps I have re-become a child.

When I get tired of this speculation, I pull the emergency cord.

We are picnicking on my grandmother’s lawn when a gazing ball from the Mohecan Hotel in Westerly, Rhode Island come sidling up.

My Uncle Jim (who holds interesting views on politics and goes to church in his own attic) gives a whoop and starts chasing it away, but most people think they should throw a butterfly net over it and lead it to safety before it bursts itself open on the railroad tracks.

Too late!

We kids start picking up the sharp, moon-shaped fragments and stuffing them in our pockets, paying no attention to the mayor who says what we are doing is illegal. 

Throughout this dream, three black women are seated alternately on me, a small boy and a person I can’t get a good look at.

I dream that the toenails of our ancestors have dug into us deeply during the night.

I awaken in dread and find that the cats have unwound a ball of twine all over the room, making cradles through the legs of the furniture.

This airship originally belonged to a young couple who now wish to appear conventional, so no longer use it.

This is what the captain of the airship answers when I ask if the owners won’t miss it while we are aloft.

The captain certainly seems conventional enough, but despite this and the idyllic weather, I begin to dream of a tempest above torpid waters and hear the captain groan,

“Take the controls, je ne suis pas bien!” though why he speaks French is hard to say—he is clearly a Swede.

The airship is gigantic and constructed, not of a single container like a Zepplin, but of a multitude of intricately connected floats and pontoons of aluminum colored cloth.

Minutes before I have rushed from a nearby casino—we are in someplace like Vichy or Marianbad—crying, “Today! Let’s go today,” and the captain has thrilled me by stolidly nodding his head.

And I have a mission of some kind; that is evident by the assurance with which I clamber on board.

Nevertheless, the erratic behavior of the unwieldy craft with its vast interior divided into irregular spaces by the scaffolding that holds its sides apart and its primitive instruments, so much more complex-looking than the dials of a modern computer, cause me great anguish which stays with me after I have awakened and closed the window that had blown open on our heads in real life.

I can’t throw off this dream within a dream. And the name of the ship was the Anabelle-Lee.

I am entertaining the queen’s emissary and a lady very like the queen in a haphazard restaurant run by my husband.

The queen’s party keeps moving and we have dreadful toasted biscuits for dessert.

I drink the emissary’s milk with jam by mistake. And a little because I like him, to tell the truth!

Time rushes by in an old-fashioned bathing suit, all its wild white moths fuming out at the crotch.

What will we do with the babies? I wonder. (At present, they seem to be imbedded in amber like million-year-old paperweights.)

While I’m washing the dishes a white owl floats in shaped like a limestone sink or a World War I airplane.

What will we do with the babies? I wonder again.

Now, descending under nylon, that still-new perfect fabric, soldiers of World War II (bodies of soldiers of World War II).

I wake up in a panic for fear I’ll be late to World War III.

As I leave the house of my friend, a giant dead sheep slips off the wall and pursues me. But now I see this sheep is only half-dead. But nevertheless it pursues me like a cloud of old snow, trailing itself broadly over the ground and catching on all the houses of this Ideal New England Village.

As I flee I think of calling out or flinging myself into one of the brightly lit cellars in which outsized models of people are going about the business of living—drinking “glug” etc.— but I am not really so frightened of this sheep—of this rug—only angry with myself for having forgotten it was on the wall beside my friend’s house, and filled with guilt for my part in helping to restrain the new doctor from leaving town.

He is a kind man and I grow to love him as we are borne along Main Street in the automobile of one of the people whose accomplice I am.

But is this really what I dreamed? I wonder as I come awake and, as my suspicions grow, I see ever more clearly the face of my friend.

It is like an electric meter or an equation written on a child’s blackboard, and full of character as she says goodnight just before the sheep falls on me.

All around us linger long benches and lean horses from the doctor’s town, and I am doomed, doomed!

Will I never learn to turn my back on what doesn’t concern me?

My cheeks are bright red and I am suffocating as I reach for my journal and start recording this dream in huge legible handwriting.

I am a rocket.

As I shoot through the atmosphere I lose different parts of myself, most of them invisible to me though they can be seen by my passengers.

I have invented a new sort of bed and pay a man to be astonished by it.

I don’t think he is astonished enough and start noting down all the things that would improve my life, such as noting down the things that would improve my life.

General de Gaulle and I share a hotel room.

His nurse comes often to give him injections, but while she is away he makes indecent proposals.

At a ceremony for a dead statesman he hastily chooses a tombstone from a truckload of markers and gives me a goose.

I hope the nurse will soon interrupt his attentions but she seems to have abandoned him.

The General announces our engagement.

I stuff a cookie into my mouth to show my disrespect.

The general pulls a long chain from his mouth at the end of which is a St. Christopher medal.   

I decide, after all, he has a sense of humor.