Only Sleeping

I was sitting in the car, God at the driver's seat, and we were underwater. The moon caught fire above us, slowly burned.

"Write a poem," He told me, hands still on the wheel as we sank lower and lower, cleaving the water seamlessly around us. "Are you scared?"

I shook my head, and though I tried to look, I couldn't see Him.

"I dreamt that God drove me into a lake, but I didn't drown. He was in the driver’s seat — Jesus took the wheel — and He drove us into a lake."

"Were you scared?"

"No, I was with God—"

"Sinking in a lake."

"It was a dream."

"Strange dream."


I should have slept with my journal beside me, like I always do, but it was in my purse across the room. I had taken it out with me, in case I saw something or met someone I wanted to remember. It's all full of ideas, but all I can think about is that dream — me in the car and God driving, and us falling through a lake, nice and slow. "Write a poem," He told me, and I wrote one down, though I had no paper or pen. I have to find a computer, I thought, because I wanted to type up the poem and read it to you, and I found one, suddenly in an old college classroom.

I wrote it, but when I read it, I couldn't get the words out. Someone was talking behind me, loud, trying to distract me as I read the poem I wrote for you with God in the lake.

"What did you write about? Do you remember?"

"Yes. I started it like the dream — God and me, in the car in a lake."

"And then?"

I don't remember. I woke up, and I felt like crying. The poem was gone, and all I could remember was that it was sad, that it was beautiful — that I had written it underwater, sitting beside God in a car as we sank in the lake.

"You said the moon caught fire?"

"That was later, the next day."

"And where was God?"

"In the lake."

"And where were you?"

"With God."

"And where was the poem?"

"In my head."

How do you wake, fully, when you know you're leaving something beautiful behind? You weren't in the dream, but you were, because I was writing the poem for you, or because of you—

"Who are you talking to?" God turns to look at me, hands on the wheel as we sink and the moon burns above us. I still can't see His face, though He's looking right at me. He's lost in shadow, or light. My mind hasn't even bothered to try and create a face for Him, knowing it can't, won't ever be able to. "I'm talking," I say, watching the car sink from above, seeing myself sitting next to God in the lake, trying to see God within the car, the warped vision of dreams. "I'm talking to myself."

We are suspended in time, in water, in the lake. I can only see His hands on the wheel, and his white-sleeved arms receding into a darkness, or light, running where my subconscious cannot follow.

"Write a poem," He says. "Are you scared?"

"I'm not scared."

I begin to write without paper or pen—

I was sitting in the car, God at the driver's seat, and we were underwater.

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