Dreamt I had five cats. Or four cats and one cat changed color periodically, growing in pale, patching in darker patterns beneath. As usual my dream of this movie is better than the actual movie. Special effects are infinitely free in the mind, and they always look better than reality because they have the privilege of not looking like anything at all. In my mind I have the privilege of not looking like anything at all. So still mirrors catch me roughly. By surprise. I know I’m pretty but I can’t reconcile it. I know I’m pretty because you tell me every day, with doors with smile’s with you’re so sweet’s with the way you do that thing where you look at my little button nose and my thin body and my clear white skin and you decide you like me cause I’m harmless. Like it’s harmless. Maybe I don’t want to be pretty and maybe I’m too much of a coward to try it.
Dreamt about my cats, the one with two-toned whiskers and an orange forehead marking named after a beer brand I don’t drink and the one with curly down between my legs. That cat. I think sometimes I broke my cat. Maybe it’s selfish, maybe it’s real fucked up how we take animals and make them pets and make them dependent and then turn around and get all annoyed when they need us. Like I’m a cat lady because I like how cats aren’t needy, but my cat is the neediest cat I’ve ever met and I know that she loves me and I love her back to pieces but really, what other option did we have?
Dreamt I was driving and I couldn’t stop. Maybe I see too much of myself in road kill. How it lies like a frameless canvas splayed to the sun, how it looks traveling miles per hour backwards in the mirror, how pointless. I can be angry as much as I can be right. Here observe our evils splattered out onto asphalt, the crushed turtle shell of every wound we ever inflicted because it’s easy and we were busy. And I couldn’t stop. When I drive somewhere with my cat she must sit curled up tight and shaking in my lap and I know that if I were to suddenly stop she’d go flying into the horn. But we make it, her and I, passing by the corpses of deer and skunk and raccoon like they mean nothing to us. Still, I cultivate hope. See how the crows come for you, always, and you are never too much for the flies to dance in celebration over your skin.
Daydreamt of the high way before us, see myself swim in a lake of imagined monsters and jellyfish, see myself with five cats in a pile on top of me, see myself flying, like the swallows do, watch me eyeing a passing redtail; as I steer the car directly into open air.
Ayla Walter is a visual artist and poet. She lives in Indianapolis where she works towards the goal of finding and attending every single open-mic in the city. She was a featured reader for the Indiana Writers Center’s 2nd Sunday Poetry open-mic series “An Evening With the Muse” in 2016.