Shanan Ballam

                                 the dream

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

                 the shiny taste 
                    of rain when I inhale

               love leads
                      us back to the things
              of this world

                  the pink roses unfurl

               the moon is a white lily
                             about to bloom
                               having a stroke erases half
                                                  the world half

                               your working
                                    body and your

                   the owl in the willow 
                            is a ghost
                   it calls to me through the open
                                 night window, calls
                          to me in my dreams
                                       in smeared colors

                                 it sounds
                                     like windchimes

                 my lips taste like lilies—

                       the cold scent of rain on stones—

                    a dark curtain embroidered

                                            with light

                           the owl is a prophetess 
                                 singing to me in my sleep

                      the owl is a part of the willow tree
                              is a part of my heart 

                      you will recover

           fragrance of lilies in a glass vase

                the crabapple tree is dotted
                         with pearls of rain

                        my lips taste like water
                 that is: they have no taste

                        the rain has turned to snow
                              it floats down in swirling spirals
                         like falling
                                    into a dream

                      the windchime speaks
                               in the voice of god 
                       like a waterfall,

                              like the song 
                                  of a canyon wren
                           tumbling down 
                               the canyon

                      last night I dreamed

                             I could walk again

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About the Author

Shanan Ballam is the Poet Laureate of Logan, Utah and a Senior Lecturer for the Utah State University English Department. She suffered a massive stroke in January 2022 which left her without speech and without the use of the entire right side of her body. She never quit writing poetry, and her collection of poems entitled “first poems after the stroke” was awarded an honorable mention in the Utah Original Writing Competition. Her poems appear in North American Review, Plume, and I-70 Review and are forthcoming in Sugar House Review.