The world is sharing a recurring dream.
Every night we fall asleep
and take up the same challenge.
All of us are stretched out
shoulder to shoulder in an endless line,
across a barren landscape under heavy cloud.
An elusive shape pursues us from behind.
We know not why.
All we hear is the person next to us breathing
and the thunder of our feet pounding the ground
as we run.
Some of us tire more easily, rest, and start again.
No judgments are made.
We are united in this common purpose,
this breathless escape.
Every time we glance backward
the specter appears closer,
changing shape as it nears.
One minute a mammoth tumbleweed made not of brush
but of thick curled barbed wire,
next, feral snarling beasts snapping at our heels,
then, hideous vultures filling the sky overhead,
circling ever closer.
Our predator will look different tomorrow night
when we face it yet again.
We know there is nothing for us
but to outdistance it,
In this same dream
the world shares a wish.
That we awaken in our beds tomorrow morning,
to the world we once blithely shared,
knowing this was all
only a dream.