Miles from any coast, the first family I meet       attempts to draw me into its high-ceilinged world:                       a world of unopened windows.          I remember the town from previous dreams.                   Would anyone but Felix propel me                               into such desiccation? When you bring me away in that pickup truck, Frances,        how unfazed you are by the number of vagrants                                  who jump on board!      Wanting my home, the ocean, I ask for the station….              There, behind sliding doors, are rail tracks                                                      crossing each other at right angles.           Train spotters freeze: they gaze at those rails                       until a grotesquery is upon us.                                      It cannot stop for immediately afterwards, a giant clone bellows past:                    I stare at twin gashes in the walls                         through which it has burst.    A small boy wails.  “They are trying to kill me!”                                                                                  I gather him up, as much for my own consolation as his:                 he feels boneless in my embrace.                                                                                  It is cruel to remain here;     nevertheless, I am held against my will within                           the immensity of it all.      When I next look down to check on the boy,          I find that I am cradling a terracotta pot.          In it, there are slivers of liver and kidney                    which, once I am able to focus,                     wriggle and diminish till they                                      disappear.                             *                *                *                 Perhaps, if I had escaped earlier,                         I could have saved him.            As it is, I am late for a civic reception.                                                                                When I arrive, it is you, Frances, who acknowledges                               what Felix ignores.                                                                                  “Out of its element, nothing can flourish,” you declare.                       Copyright © JENNY JOHNSON                       First published in Poetry Salzburg Review