Crystals and gargoyles

Our memories are dreams, crystals mounted in sets of elegantly crafted
gold and silver that we take from velvet-lined folds in our minds,
always warm and shining in our hands, bright treasures that we touch
to our lips, our nose, our eyes, our ears, our heart to swell our senses,
prizes that we fondle while we delicately recraft the swirls of the
precious metals that hold them in place. We clean and polish them,
carefully replace them in their niches, each a little brighter and more
beautiful than before, unfading, patiently awaiting the next showing.

Or else our memories are rough-cut stone sculptures of gargoyles,
glued to misshapen driftwood jutting shards of shattered glass,
garbage dumped into a splintered plywood box. We pull them out
and hold them at arm’s length: fevered, putrid, dripping blood and pus
and vomit. We strike them with a peened hammer or a hatchet,
trying to chip away their monstrous mien, only to create monsters
more horrid. Their stench clings to us as they clatter back into the
dark box, vile, ugly, unaltered, patiently awaiting the next showing.

We pity and revile the alcoholic, the drug addict, the homeless,
the mentally ill. Maybe they are better dreamers. More vivid dreams.
Dreams that do not end with waking. Dreams of crystal smashed
by dreams of rough-cut stone. Treasures devoured by monsters.
Patiently waiting, always there, in the darkest folds of our minds.

About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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