28 January 2008 | Vol. 7, No. 4


A man could not decide if his belt was too tight or too loose. Sometimes, in bed, he could not decide if he was hot or cold. He put on his long johns and socks. He took them off and lay under the blankets, a thin layer of cold perspiration coating his skin.

On the treadmill, he did not know if he was walking forward or backward. It was the same when he was stopped in traffic and the cars started to move and his car seemed to be drifting backward and he slammed on the breaks.

There was this place he remembered that bothered him because it did not exist except in his memory. He had dreamt about it, perhaps several times, or he had dreamt once that he had dreamt about it several times.

A rundown building in the Mission District of San Francisco divided into cheap apartments. The walls were white, the doors painted red. Mildew, doors slamming, worn-out carpet. Maybe it was a place that he had forgotten and then dreamt about.

He thought, if I woke up in the dark and did not know where I was, I could spit to see if I was upside down or right side up.

He thought, if I were a spider blown across a mirror on a front lawn I would think that I was sliding against the sky.

About the author:

Richard Garcia's poems have recently appeared in the Georgia Review, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, and Ploughshares. He is the recipient of a Pushcart prize and has a poem in Best American Poetry 2005. His new volume of poetry, The Persistence of Objects, came out from BOA, October 2006.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Richard Garcia at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 4, where "Undecided" ran on January 28, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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