Poem Therapy at 7:29 P.M 6 September 2012: The Future Is An Animal - Tina Chang

The Future Is An Animal
Tina Chang

In every kind of dream I am a black wolf 
careening through a web. I am the spider 
who eats the wolf and inhabits the wolf's body.
In another dream I marry the wolf and then 
am very lonely. I seek my name and they name me 
Lucky Dragon. I would love to tell you that all 
of this has a certain ending but the most frightening
stories are the ones with no ending at all. 
The path goes on and on. The road keeps forking, 
splitting like an endless atom, splitting 
like a lip, and the globe is on fire. As many
times as the book is read, the pages continue
to grow, multiply. They said, In the beginning, 
and that was the moral of the original and most 
important story. The story of man. One story. 
I laid my head down and my head was heavy. 
Hair sprouted through the skin, hair black 
and bending toward night grass. I was becoming 
the wolf again, my own teeth breaking 
into my mouth for the first time, a kind of beauty 
to be swallowed in interior bite and fever. 
My mind a miraculous ember until I am the beast. 
I run from the story that is faster than me, 
the words shatter and pant to outchase me. 
The story catches my heels when I turn 
to love its hungry face, when I am willing
to be eaten to understand my fate.
In my dream of the future I am a mountain lion with ruched fur anklets like my relatives of the Sahara. Is it my fate to prey on the small in this labyrinth of suburbia?

In another dream I am the snake, coiling and uncoiling, swallowing my tail to outrun my restlessness. Ouroboros, holy, first living being of the universe.

In yet another dream, of a fortnight ago, I am the white whale navigating the narrow channel of an amusement park theme tunnel. My fluke-shaped tail propelling this large head-shaped body through the tunnel and under the asphalt bridge. Hundreds of feet pound above, while I float in the womb dark netherworld. My belly is ribbed and vaulted like a cathedral and I am alone with my prayers.

In my dream of the future I am the spider that leaves the empty suitcases on the floor of my intricately woven web I formerly called my life, and parachutes to freedom on a slender strand of silk.

In the cathedral of my dreams, a pin light from a votive flame shines through the incense fog.

My future is an animal. I am lion, snake, whale, spider. I am all the animals of my dreams, that live in flesh and memory.

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