The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Becoming Persephone by Mary Ann Honaker

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Becoming Persephone by Mary Ann Honaker, released by Third Lung Press in 2019. 

Poem with Quotes from a Dream Dictionary

To dream that you are showering with someone suggests
there is something you need to come clean about, confess–
but I’ve confessed all to you, my hate and my love. I’ve chased
your blue truck into valleys fuzzed with trees & tall weeds,
to catch you in a stomped-dirt driveway & finish our suspended

To dream that you are young again indicates
your failed attempts to rectify past mistakes.
Although your teeth are still white & neat in obedient formation,
your eyes like ink acid-droppered into milk, lean waist,
you’re not here to take back what you called me:
painted vase, contents unimportant. You’re
leaning forward, lips hinging open like devouring gates:
welcome, hellcome home–

To see or pass through a gate
suggests that you are walking through a new phase
of life. I’m chapters and chapters past you now,
so many pages turned, the old ones have gone to dust
& creepervine, yet at sleep-time, you sweet-lime
your silent way into my clean sheets, where quick-breath,
you rise & fall–

To dream about sex refers to merging. You need
to incorporate aspects of your dream partner
into your own character.
Lightning-fist, black hair like a cowl,
like a mourning veil. Like a cloud
heavy-bellied with rage, sagging
to break, your soul slops over the graveyard,
angry at even the dead–

To dream that you are in a graveyard represents
the discarded aspects of yourself.
Should I find the clouds in myself and water them
with my little red plastic watering can
until they are pregnant with revenge? In another
dream I stabbed you, and threw the knife
into the lake of the mansion we broke into,
that decadent life we grabbed as if
the world owed us everything, were already ours.

To dream that you kill someone
indicates that you are on the verge.
Consider the person. Do you feel any rage?
Goddam yes I do. I was high, motherfucker,
and you put your hand over my mouth,
so they wouldn’t hear me scream.
I was your friend, one of the guys, your drinking pal,
you pretty, pretty motherfucker.

To see a lake in your dream signifies your state of mind.
You feel restricted that you can’t express
goddam motherfucker goddam. I was seventeen
and you the wrecking ball of the new-built house.
So I stabbed you good; you were smiling.

Alternatively, the lake may provide you with solace.
If the lake is clear and calm, if the lake eats the knife
without so much as a gulp, and its skin never undulates,
then it symbolizes your inner peace.

If in the dream the lake was stolen, the stealing suggests
that you are feeling deprived. The locale is indicative
of your neediness. So we stole a whole mansion,
with a lake & Godfather-staircase & spa
& a bathroom as big & vaulted as a cathedral,
and why but we were seventeen that’s why,
seventeen goddam you.

To dream that you are urinating symbolizes
a release of negative or repressed emotions.
When you left the shower with your slender waist
& droplets prisming from your flicked mane,
I squatted and peed down the drain.

To dream of a knife signifies that the stars
are tinsel merely,
when I’d like to take that blade and ting them,
reverberation, reverberation.

To see a blade suggests that you need
to be able to make clear distinctions:
house cat, wharf rat; spa, seventh level of Dante’s hell;
hand grenade, warm dinner roll.

To see a grenade
suggests that your suppressed
emotions are about to explode.

Mary Ann Honaker is the author of Becoming Persephone (Third Lung Press, 2019), and the chapbooks It Will Happen Like This (YesNo Press, 2015) and Gwen and the Big Nothing (The Orchard Street Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Bear Review, JMWW, Juked, Little Patuxent Review,, Sweet Tree Review, and elsewhere. Mary Ann holds an MFA from Lesley University. She currently lives in Beaver, West Virginia.

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