My Pajamas Have Pockets
by Theodora Goss
Today I discovered, to my surprise,
that my pajamas have pockets.
Tonight when I fall asleep
and walk along the shores of that sea
filled with stars like fish, or fish
like stars, I will collect
some of the shells scattered
among the rocks. They are as white
as chalk, streaked with verdigris,
slick and wet. When you pick them up,
they look at you like eye sockets.
And you wonder: what lived here, once
at the dawn of the world?
I will put them in my pockets
and climb the cliff,
past the grasses waving
like green tongues.
The shells are also coins.
I will give them to the raven
in the red kerchief, preaching revolution
and poetry. He will admit me
into the tower, and I will begin to climb,
around and around while above
the silver moon is chiming,
until I have worn through my slippers.
Finally, I will arrive
at the top where, among the clouds,
Mother Night sits
beside her spinning wheel.
“Come drink with me, daughter,”
she will say, and offer,
in a cut-glass goblet, elderflower wine,
on a porcelain plate, a ginger biscuit.
“Ask your question,” she will say, when I am full
and a little tipsy. “I would like to see
my life,” I will reply. “Is the thread long or short?
Silk or hemp?” She will laugh
and run her fingers along the thread
feeding into the orifice,
winding around the bobbin.
“Gold, daughter. All my threads
are gold. And you hold
the scissors. Here, for good luck.”
She will give me
a thimble like an acorn cup.
After curtseying awkwardly,
because how does one curtsey in pajamas anyway,
I will walk out the window into the forest,
where the birds are making a racket
and a rabbit is knitting
a small blue hat, like a beret.
I will buy it from her
with the gold thread wound
around and around my wrist.
She will insist on adding a bobble.
As I walk along the path,
the squirrels will admire me immensely.
The foxes will look at me askance,
until one of them invites me to dance.
The next morning, I will wake up
with an acorn in one pocket
and in the other, a blue knitted hat,
very small. I will have a headache
as though I had drunk too much,
and worn-out slippers.
Pockets on pajamas: seems
strange, doesn’t it? But
never let them tell you that pockets
are useless in the land of dreams.
(The image is Lady of the Night by Don Blanding.)