Several floors below heaven
a passing train startles Paul awake.
His cotton mouth misspeaks
the planet’s name to a oompah band’s brass.
This unintentional misdirection
opens a seam in the universe to another
where twenty-seven children
wear cardigans and sob at the direction
of an orchestra conductor
lifting a photogenic baton.
Paul wets his face at a hands-free faucet
while portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte
and Thomas Jefferson eye each other
from adjacent sides of the mirror.
Paul notices his doll-skin pallor.
He thinks this a clue to contact his therapist.
But is afraid to interrupt happy hour
half way around the globe.
As he towels water off his face
a gunmetal quote appears on the mirror’s surface
as a cloud wishing thunder
not Smith & Wesson shots fired in a hold up
of the morning train’s mail car
as it clickity-clacks out of Dodge City, Kansas.
copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney