• Penny Harter


Although I’ve now received the second vaccine dose, I’m still having “pandemic dreams” during restless nights. Here’s an attempt to explore one of last night’s dreams, the one toward waking that I most remember.

After Covid Vaccination

Able to go further now than my former daily

rides to count roadside deer, I find restrictions

still in place. I must continue to wear a mask

in stores, socially distance, wash hands often.

Maybe these frustrations caused last night’s

strange dream—an explosion blasting fire

and dark smoke into the sky, and then the

aftermath—the big deer-field's grass scorched

on the diagonal, no deer to be seen. Or maybe

this dream was born from too much daily news—

an endless chain of catastrophes across the

planet, political toxins spewing.

Waking this morning, I wonder about the deer,

hope they escaped into the woods undamaged

and whole. And I wonder why I sparked that

explosion and fire—what I was blowing up.

At least I didn’t blacken the whole field, left

some free for grazing. And I didn’t demolish

or burn down the house of the woman whose

field it may have been as she yelled from her

porch to move the car, repeatedly flashing a

blinding spotlight into my eyes, warning me

not to slow down, pull over, and stop to enjoy

the peace of the herd, although my anger may

have tindered my fire. After three days of rain

it will clear later today, winds rising as a cold

front races across the state. May tonight’s dream

be of a field of stars and a benevolent moon that

only mirrors fire. May the herd find other fields

unharmed by flame or flood, and may I join

them, becoming deer, free to safely wander as

we graze the newly greening grasses of spring.

© 2021 Penny Harter

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