Fever Dreams

Patrick Schiefen

I had a fever dream of persecution,

of people reconciling their cruelty with their divine duty.

I cried in my dream and I cried when I woke up.


I saw a headline about an Iraqi boy’s murder being livestreamed on the streets

and who cares? Who the fuck cares?

Rid the world of gays, they say. Get rid of us.


I cried then, too, without clicking the link.

I became him in my dreams and begged like he did for my mother.
A million people were watching.


             I died.


Only parts of me came back to life when I awoke.
I carried his ghost like a pipe bomb in my chest waiting for broken glass to gut me.


             My greatest fear is that people will hate me for what I am
             even after getting to know who I am.


             My greatest fear is that someone will see me here on the street,
             beat me on the sidewalk, and it won’t be a hate crime.


I saw a headline claiming we’re the deterioration of the nation
and dreamt that our love was blamed for homicide and for wildfires

and for other people’s inability to cope.


             Sometimes I’m the one who can’t cope.


I’m trying to reconcile picket fenced dreams with a semi-automatic,
which is to say I don’t need help opening sinkholes beneath my bedposts. 


When I was younger I believed if I told someone my dreams 

then they wouldn’t come true. 


             I can’t tell anyone about these dreams.

Sometimes words make things real, too.
Sometimes I want the world to go silent. 

Patrick Schiefen is an American poet based in Shanghai, China. A regular of the poetry scene there, his writings have appeared in local publications while also appearing alongside artwork and photography in Dark Snow Magazine and Kaltblut Magazine. He is currently working on self publishing his first collection of poetry.