The Man Who Married A Dream

Steve Klepetar

There was a hunter who married a dream.
He took her to deep forest near a cave
where animals rose and roared into the world.
His snare lines were full and their lodge
had meat and skins.
At night they played, worked all day.
When he went further to hunt, she swam
in the pool of a stream that ran near their lodge
and when he returned, just before second night,
she ran to him and they played together in the dark.
How well she managed, dream woman, how beautiful
and happy when he came home.
He left for three sleeps now, and she swam and bathed
in her small pool, built a little dam and made
a lake, deep enough for her to dive and skim
the bottom with fish she knew by name.
She built more dams until her stream
swelled, a series of lakes, and she built
her own mud hut.
When her husband returned, bearing more
meat than ever, she played with him, but
in the day she liked her hut, half submerged
in silver lake.
The hunter noticed nothing.
He enlarged his lodge to hold more meat, more skins.
They were rich, after one more trip he could hang
his reputation on his father's clan pole.
When he returned, loaded down with animals,
she was gone.
He called and called, but strange silence told him
something powerful had happened, some mystery had taken her.
He ran along the banks of her lake, crying her name.
He began to sing for her, a dirge to a dream, his aching
words echoing through trees and against rocks.
"Water-spirit," he sang, "have you returned to the land
of ghosts?" And then he saw First Beaver
swimming through the lake, fur slicked back, swimming
towards him in the silver moonlight, shining like a dream.

Copyright 1995 Kaleidoscope. Write Place. Volume 6.
Contributors retain all rights to their work.