Don't Let Me Down

Sarah Trudgeon


My husband says he doesn’t really like 
short stories, says only novels 
capture the human experience.
But he does not mean 
how in novels you always learn
about the people’s childhoods,
even though you do.
He is writing a book about 
how he became a writer. 
It’s a gambit. So he asked
if I had a formative narrative 
about myself as a writer. 
But, what? I don’t think I do. 
He does. The clouds 
look awfully large today 
and awfully low—
white, bright, but somehow menacing. 
Our toddler woke the other night 
and when I went to check 
on him he just whispered sadly,
“He got me.” He often dreams 
of tigers, then last night I
dreamed of a tiger. 
It was standing on a lake 
lapping water the way 
they do in documentaries 
and then it chased me down a street 
in my own neighborhood—
where I live now, anyway. 
I did not grow up in a neighborhood. 
“A road with a gas station” 
is the joke I make 
for the East Coast elites
with whom I now associate.
Similarly, I can never believe 
my husband really loves me,
even though he does.
His novel got translated 
into Chinese. “I had a dream last night 
I was some kind of god, I think,” 
is what he said to me
this morning. In mine 
I paid a woman seven dollars 
for a donut, and then there was the tiger. 
I woke up when he got me.

Sarah Trudgeon is the author of the chapbooks Dreams of Unhappiness and The Plot Against the Baby. She is the director of education for the writers’ residency and public humanities project The Mastheads.