In those fiery summer days
Our naked bodies were cooled
By the incessant flow of the river.
He and I laughed and threw mud-balls.
Cool night-breaths from the pulsating heavens
Through winged-oak leaves, through rusted screens
Gave us that sleep where dreams rise into being.
He dreamed we were fish ...
Miniature with iridescent mouths
Catching life and tranquil light.
His dream frightened him; he woke and said,
"I saw a big fish swallow you and with his
Bloody mouth at war with creation
I thought you were gone." And he cried.
He stared like the day he was robbed
Of all his special cat-eye marbles.
For hours he gazed at the empty nest
Of his bleeding palm, and one broken cat-eye.
Years after the dream I knocked on his door.
"I had no wish to dream that dream," he said,
And kissed the incinerated patches on my face.
Otto Osip Ochs, originally from East Germany, was studying English at Fresno Pacific College in California when this poem appeared.