Bone Woman Blog

NORA L. JAMIESON

Bow Down

I dreamed of the Turquoise Sofa last night.

Why now, after half a century, am I dreaming of the Turquoise Sofa.

I remember the night when it seemed to appear as if by an unseen hand. It was the color of the sea, fringed and tasseled, its arm nearly as tall as me. I gazed at its blue green coolness before climbing into its silky and quilted lap, so new and taut that it reflected the lamplight. Even so, I knew it was a freak in the ordered colonial room, a stranger among us. Chosen by a mother I did not recognize.

Alarming and mysterious.

But no more so than the unspoken truth of death, of illicit pasts and banished grandmothers. The unutterable and unbearable knowing that, in the next room, my father lay dying.

I dreamed of the Turquoise Sofa last night.

It carried the weight of all we needed to forget. We would come to laugh about my mother’s grief-soaked mistake, gaudy and extravagant, banished to the cellar alongside the looming wardrobe that held the worn riding boots, the red and white sweater and rhinestone bracelets, the purple velvet bathrobe with jeweled buttons. The empty suits left behind by a dead man.

Underworld relics of an unlived life.

I dreamed of the Turquoise Sofa last night.

Tattered and infested with mice.

12345Why now?

12345Should I be alarmed?

12345Or should I bow down?

I circle the dream sofa, interrogating, like the hookahed Caterpillar inquired of Alice, Who are you? Who are you?

Sorrow then, remembering the poor harpooned and bloody blue pilot whale we children circled on the beach one misty summer morning.

Too, silken and shiny.

Neither are speaking.

12345Why this silence?

Panic now.

I want to shake the dream.

12345Am I living in my mother’s infested grief? Am I un-living?

12345Am I dying?

Silence.

Everything shuts down in the presence of the Turquoise Sofa.

Courage is required. Begin again.

I dreamed of the Turquoise Sofa last night.

That large and puckered animal presence, the color of the sea. The one that opened out into a bed, such easy magic a young girl could do it.

My lover asked, is it a Queen? I answered, Oh yes. And when we went to lie down, we saw the mouse tending her pink babies, nestled in tufts spilled from the busted dreams of the Turquoise Sofa.

12345Am I a Queen?

12345Am I a mouse?

Look again.

I circle. I breathe. I look.

Yes. Look again.

I see.

Mouse Woman. Making new life in my mother’s tattered hope.

Bow down.

Mouse Woman knows the etiquette of approach.

Mouse Woman knows the boundaries between the realms, separated by the skin of the sea, the dream and the waking, by the prayer and its answer.

Mouse Woman can see the world behind the world.

Look again.

I see. The abandoned dreams of the mother I did not know.

I see. The dark birth of my longing.

All things have two lives, she says. You must learn to see the copper in the piss, the holy in the broken, the wild life in the Turquoise Sofa. The hidden colors of a woman.

Mouse Woman says, wrap in the jeweled and velvet robe, ride the Turquoise Sofa, sail for the shore of remembering carried by the sea of forgetting.

Bow down.

And Mouse Woman will tell you how the worlds and their objects contain each other. Of the holy possibility in despair.

I dreamed of the Turquoise Sofa last night.

Her quilted map of an unknown life, her blooming flowers and wild undergrowth, her tassels and swaying fringe.

A resurrection.

A beauty the color of the Mediterranean sea, rhinestoned and ready to dance, this Lady of the Night, this fragrant Gypsy woman, opens herself to the weary, the broken, to rest, to dream, to be made new.

Incantations of fiddles now, and the tinkling, winking chimes of sunlit glass as I follow the rocking Gypsy caravan of the Turquoise Sofa, serenaded by wild lamentations of grief.

Of life.

The power of objects, says Mouse Woman, is that they bridge the worlds between what you cannot bear to remember and the only thing that will save you.

Bow down.

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5 responses to “Bow Down

  1. patricia reis December 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Nora, this is so deeply evocative and so beautifully written! Thank You!

  2. Abbe Miller December 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Nora, this piece is for savoring…first read has unleashed so many images of remembering and forgetting…and your line:

    “sail for the shore of remembering carried by the sea of forgetting.” is soul food.

    thank you for the unexpected feast…and i bow to mouse woman..

  3. Deena Metzger December 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    The mouse and the whale, the small and the many, and the one and the great, grey beings who guide us to life and death and the dream territory between. We have been looking for the language that speaks to what is real again and you are finding it for all of us. Bless you and this dream at the doorway of a new year.

  4. Terri February 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    I love this Nora.
    The shadows, opposites in all life… Reminds me of the old ways in that there is an opposite to everything.
    Thank you for continuing your writing and now sharing it with us.
    T

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