Subhaga Crystal Bacon

Dream Life

Just before the alarm went off
I woke from a dream
of kissing a woman secretly
goodbye, moving our bodies
out of the sightline of a window.
The woman, my real-life partner,
become once again unknown
and pursued. Roused in the early dark,
I was confused about the journey I was to take,
wherever it was I was meant to go.
Me, who used to run in short cycles
of longing and pursuit—wishing to be loved
beyond all else, unable to do the same—
rising here from a dream of what I already have.

Artist Statement

“What a rare gift it is for a Queer person to be asked to write about love. I spent so much of my early writing life wanting to be a poet, not a “Queer poet,” to be seen for the value of my work instead of my identity. That was many decades ago. More recently, things have changed. The past year has brought the lives of LGBTQI+ people into the forefront. Burgeoning trans and nonbinary visibility has offered me a lens through which to investigate myself, my identity, my gender expression. To be genderqueer is to be a liminal being—not a lesbian, not a woman, not cisgender, not trans, but Queer—a person undefined by boundaries of gender expression and attraction. My friends used to say that I was a gay man trapped in a lesbian’s body. That was astute in the 90’s, but not anymore. Today, I wear my gender Queerness in comfort; how I look is no indication of how I feel. As an elder person in a long relationship with another Queer person, desire and sexual expression occur frequently in my dreams. This poem is about the frequent dreams I have about flirting or being sexual with another person and then remembering my partner of 30 years—with our many breaks and rejoinings. To dream of them and see them as someone desired, known and not known, touches on how liminal our knowing is. There is always something more than what we see with our awake, conscious minds. Dreams give us the chance to live in another realm, one in which the unusual becomes usual.”

Subhaga Crystal Bacon is the author of two volumes of poetry, Blue Hunger, 2020 from Methow Press, and Elegy with a Glass of Whisky, BOA Editions, 2004. A Queer Elder, she lives, writes, and teaches on the east slope of the North Cascade Mountains in Twisp, WA. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in the Mom Egg Review, Indianapolis Review, Transition, and Humana Obscura. Her work can be found on