Updated: Sep 14
I often had nightmares as a child. I always thought, in part, my huge imagination added to my nighttime images. My nightmares were sometimes recurring dreams, ones that repeated often. As an adult, I decided to revisit a dream to help resolve an old hurt. I used an old dream symbol to write a poem and create a new ending to the story.
This poem was published in my book, Soul's Homecoming: An Empath's Journey to Inner Wisdom.
The Cedar Closet
So many seasons ago my father built a
cedar closet, a small room really
It was in the cellar where
a black-bellied furnace that drank dark,
murky oil for supper was
just outside the closet door.
Moist cement and dust bundles along
the cellar walls lay undisturbed and mysterious,
like the monster who I thought lived there.
I’d run down the cellar steps, gripped with fear,
into the sweet-smelling closet,
quickly closing the door—shaking, exhaling the breath I held.
Inside the closet old clothes still hung as new
on several rows of thick horizontal dowels
crossing from one side to the next.
A web of memories left behind keeping themselves company.
My eyes, owl-wide, blinked when I pulled
the long string to the light bulb above.
There were shelves along the dark edges—
cubbyholes of Grandma’s vases,
Mom’s purses, and high-heeled shoes.
On another, a forgotten manual typewriter
and lots of board games,
all quietly waiting to be visited, like a cemetery of stones.
In one of those corners was my father’s briefcase,
frozen in time. Waiting
just like it was before he left with the
angels—ready to grab for work,
all safely clamped together by the vintage lock
on its cracked leather flap.
I sat on the closet floor my father built and
carefully opened his briefcase,
reverently fingering the slightly yellowed papers
with his logo EJK on top.
I read them one by one and
played office, pretending.
One day I stood taller on the cellar steps and saw
the oil-eating monster reborn an efficiency furnace,
dad’s refinished work bench, and an art room where
mom spent hours painting portraits.
Sunlight shone through the windows
high up on the cement walls.
And then the cedar closet became a room of treasures
that still held the fragrance of
bringing smiles now as I bowed to the angels
who hovered near.
I felt him with me in that pungent space.
Katharine Donovan Kane