The Alfred Hitchcock Dream

He’s speaking in my auditorium
showing clips—black and white—
his English accent almost drowning
the words, like rocks muddled in water.
A bit perturbed but his points sharp and I’m
listening, rapt, then with a quick shock realize
that it was my job to get him from the airport.
It’s four p.m. and I also forgot to provide
breakfast or lunch and he’s on stage, bravely
discussing foreboding and foreshadowing.
Suspense is not horror, surprise, or fear.
It’s the long agony of figuring out
the real threat, he says. Of waiting for
the inevitable. There he is, a very old
person who managed to get to a strange place
at my request and without my help.
When the talk ends, I walk up to him
to apologize at the same time that I covet
his gray cashmere jacket. I need a drink,
he says, wiping his brow, and I think I don’t
want a drink and I also don’t want to take
you to dinner since I just ate lunch. What
I want is for him to disappear like a victim
but he’s mine. My arms feel coated in cast iron.
At that moment I wake to a flood of sun,
my heart beating blood warm through my limbs,
and after a moment of mulling about
immigrant Alfred, I think of my senile
mother and the drink she might need and can’t
ask for. And then I’m sitting up in bed
as if on a playground bench, with my back
to a jungle gym covered with crows.

Natasha Sajé is the author of three books of poems including Vivarium (Tupelo Press, 2014); Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory (University of Michigan Press, 2014), a book of literary criticism; and Terroir: Love, Out of Place, a memoir-in-essays forthcoming this year from Trinity University Press. Sajé teaches in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program and is a professor of English at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.