I was trying to pay for entrance 

and had bought the preliminary ticket

but then there was the second, real ticket,

the attendant in the booth 

was closing up for the night,

and I frantically tried to say 

I would pay another five dollars,

but they couldn’t understand, 

so I pressed my hand up against the glass 

and with condescension counted off my fingers 

out loud to illustrate the number five, 

but somehow I had a sixth and a seventh finger. 

I don’t remember what the extra digits meant 

but it was some sort of great defeat for me.

Elsewhere I saw a five-eyed baby.

In a dream, four ladies discuss poetry at your table.

They say they’re going to the bar.

An apparition is attached behind the prettiest one.

It looks at you like “are you coming along?” 

When you thought she’d been about to ask 

if you could move to a different table.

Self pity evaporates 

upon waking from this dream,

But becomes another precipitate in the waking life.

Jesse Hilson is a writer, freelance newspaper reporter, and cartoonist living in the western Catskills in New York State. He has been published or will appear soon in AZURE, Maudlin House, Déraciné Literary Magazine, Pink Plastic House, Rejection Letters, Close to the Bone, and elsewhere. His interests are British murder mysteries, death metal, and the paintings of Robert Williams. He is on Twitter and on Instagram at @platelet60.

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