To-Merge-with-Dreams-Like-Birds, Liam Kelley

My grandmother sees me
in a dream.
She doesn’t know
who I am, nor
do I recognize her.

On the counter sits a metal plate
adorned with a vibrant ‘666’
by a white-toy-truck
in hot pursuit.
Life is winter.
She drops a cracker
into the knife drawer
and swears
we can’t return there

Thank you, rocks,
she says—throwing a pebble
high in the air. It hits
the ceiling and lands
two feet away.
She smiles.
That wasn’t very smart.

Where is the sky?
What color is it?
She asks.

I do not know
how to answer—
her cardinal hair is cut in knots,
and my eyes are still in the
dark-rot freezer.

A black and yellow bird
merge in our heads,
signaling that my identity
is truly lost to her
now like

a dove without a marker,
a fountain without wires,
a cigarette without stone.

The sign hangs there on the wall—
a black arrow stabbing itself
in the stomach. Swimming
amidst frozen lemonade.

We sit in a Japanese houseboat
with wax-wings-caged-in-lace.
Neither of us can scream,
for we still do not know each other,
but roses are served for breakfast
next to four prison guitars.
And again she asks,

Where is heaven?
Who is Tweety Bird?
What time is dinner?
When is this over?

Only now do I know
the answer:

Neither of us
can wake if
our eyes
are already
held open

from above
and below.


Liam Max Kelley is a Chilean-American playwright, poet, and 8th grade language arts teacher. He is the program director at Stain’d Arts, an arts non-profit based in Denver, Colorado, and the co-founder of RuddyDuck Theatre Company, a local absurdist theatre group. He writes poetry to avoid making an argument, to highlight life’s horrid ambiguities, and to turn the heads of those around him. (Vanity becomes him.) He writes for himself. Art is something to be examined and something to be blurred. Something to be wrecked. And maybe something to be changed for the better. You can find him co-hosting the Stain’d Arts Open Mic at Denver’s Whittier Cafe every third Friday of the month. (Or groveling in a hole.)

Liam Max Kelley recommends “The Cry” by Federico García Lorca.

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