It meant nothing at all until it was far too late.
The night before last I was visited by horrible nightmares that devoured both my sleep and the night in three huge bites. The first: I am climbing into a huge bed alongside another man who is completely wrapped up in the covers, back towards me. Another man arrives to climb in after me; his manner is sly and menacing, I think perhaps he wants sex with me and the sleeper, but when he lies down I discover that he has brought a hammer wrapped in foam rubber with him, the better to bash in my head cleanly and silently. I grab the hammer or rubber mallet and rush out of the small bedroom into a hallway or small landing on the stairs. The wall is covered in framed black and white portraits of my family and when I cannot scream for help, my throat suffering the common dream paralysis, I begin smashing the glass of the portraits to raise an alarm. I hear commotion downstairs but no one comes to help and I wake up terrified, seeing darkness scattered on the walls and ceiling of my bedroom, lie black paint thrown in a fit. I went then into the living room and read Graves' I, Claudius when I saw two huge moths; one lying inert on the ceiling and the other beating itself against the window. That made me think of the men in the dream and, reading of Roman superstition as I was, I was opened the window to let one out (where did they come from the windows have been closed and air-conditioning on for days?) and returned to bed.
Second dream: I'm walking Otis on a rocky hillside when I notice he has wandered out of sight. Calling him back I grow increasingly frantic, certain that he has become lost. Three dogs answer my calls, mongrels with sores, Otis is among them but he is Otis no more. Before I return to sleep I adjure my statue of the Black Madonna to guard me sleep and dreams.
Third dream: I examine my body and find something like cuts which open not on flesh and blood but a hollow filled with very young vegetation, white from never seeing the sun. Disgusted I see that a white bean is close to the surface, I nudge it and it falls out of my body. I crush it and it consists of a paste like fat. Aghast, I plan to go to my stepmother Barbara, ask for her forgiveness so that she will heal me. Before I can do this unwanted thing, a dark-skineed man, not young or old, not handsome or ugly, comes up to me and begins singing a spiritual song without words but of incredible beauty. I close my eyes to listen more closely and when I do his voice fades, but it is still like a balm in Gilead, a benediction. I awake to the very first rays of dawn and don't dare to return to sleep after a night that ends on such a grace note.