This morning,
I woke up paralyzed,
unable to move,
trying hard, but helpless.
Lying face down,
I couldn’t rise up, 
couldn’t push up.
I questioned,
should I be able to?
In my dream,
a large black woman
was sprawled on top of me,
holding me down,
crushing me.
As hard as I would try,
the weight held me down.
Then I got up.
The dream transitioned to reality.
The weight was gone.
I tested my extremities.
I could push up.
Had my subconscious mind
been sending me a signal
that carbon monoxide
was settling in,
hovering in the air?
Was I overreacting?
I shut off the a/c,
a highly unlikely source anyway.
I opened the apartment door,
listening for a motor
that I had thought I heard earlier,
someone piping something lethal
to me and who knows who else.
All was calm,
except me.
An hour later,
I got back to sleep,
letting fate take its course.
Stephen Schwei is a Houston poet with Wisconsin roots, published in Wax Poetry & Art, Beneath the Rainbow, Hidden Constellation, Borfski Press, and the Waco Word Fest anthology. A gay man with three grown children and four wonderful grandchildren, who worked in Information Technology most of his life, he can be a mass of contradictions. Poetry helps to sort all of this out.

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