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A Wife or a Ghost

Dreamed and painted 2014? (28"x27", acrylic on canvas) by Justin Masi

Bride with greenish groom; illustration of a dream, 'A Wife or a Ghost', by Justin Masi.

Billy's been gone for almost a year now. lt was so sudden. He died just nine months before he was to marry my sister. Now she grieves, and doesn't know how she will ever move on. I, on the other hand, do not know how to grieve. I am a dry well when awake, but I come to understand how deep it really runs only when I have this dream:

Their wedding is taking place on a blood-red beach in Mexico. Billy has some trouble getting here for the ceremony, held up at customs when an inspector reje€cts his badly worn and battered passport. The tuxedo he is wearing is borrowed from a childhood friend, someone Billy used to play baseball with years ago.

My sister clutches a bouquet of funeral flowers and wears a tiny medallion which encloses, in a salty fluid, a withered and wrinkly fetus.

Off the late-afternoon coast, a yacht is anchored. lt sailed down from some regal New York club last week. The captain is lost. A cat jumps from the boat and somehow lands safely and surprisingly not-wet on shore beside my sister.

Her ring is lost; it is highly polished and gleams in the night but somehow she cannot find it in the shadows when the clouds cut off the moonlight.

Moments before they kiss for the last time, Billy is transferred to the 18th hole of the final golf course he ever played.

This dream is absolutely the last string that ties me to Billy; this is all I have left in this world or any other. A memory of something that never happened. A one-way ticket that flutters in the breeze and is torn in half. An eclipse during the honeymoon. A clumsy ghost who slips down the stairs and is gone.

--Justin Masi


I found this moving prose-poem-painting in the 2014 art gallery of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. I've tried to track down Justin and ask permission to repost this, but failed so far to find him. Justin, are you out there? Is there a website I can send people to?

--Chris Wayan

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