It was better, wasn’t it, when I was a dream?
Unbearable and fleeting, you could never quite
Catch me, for when you woke you could not
Touch me. Oh yes, that picture you painted
Was perfect and dazzling, how I shone
With green eyes glowing
You threaded my hair with kisses of chestnut
Gave me the figure of some other woman
And it was this Frankenstein you admired
I was disjointed, and I was so very chaste
Because I remained elusive, you wanted me more.

And when I was a dream, I could never hurt you
But I did haunt you, I’d be there behind you
Staring from the mirror on your wall
And I’d catch your eyes and hold them there
Such was my extraordinary power
And you said you despised the distance
That held us apart, but if you had drawn me
Closer, you would have touched only air.

Then, I did not know how a dream was something
To be created, plotted minutely out
Like the intricacies of a detective novel.
I thought of dreams as real things with
Minds and hearts that beat on their own.
But when your dream of me turned nightmarish
For you realised I had grown thoughts
All by myself, and all by myself I had learnt to love
You, above all you, only you, you thought it
Better before, when I was the portrait on the wall
Born to be admired, adored like something holy
But there is nothing holy in what passed between us
As I sketch you out and away, warts and all.


Rose Staveley-Wadham