The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

A. Van Jordan


Streets anesthetized in neon lights…
I walk through them in sleep,
deep in sleep, as an excuse

for acts I might only dream
of committing while wide awake.
What if I see you and call your name

in this state of being? What if I take your hand?
I will not be held responsible for what happens
in shadows. Nothing comes to light

when I’m awake, so don’t even ask.
You stepped behind the curtain to see
A. Van, The Somnambulist, at your own

risk. By daylight, we poets are not allowed
to follow the dictates of our hearts.
Through the dark woods, one of you

asked me to assume the identity of the sleep walker.
You put me to bed, and, on command,
you woke me up to divert suspicion

from your name. But the mystery soon
solves itself. You will come to me
when the sun reaches its peak, offering details

of the night before, asking me to confirm your dream
as reality, and you will see me for who I really am,
as The Great Caligari, a legend to some

but a therapist to others, and, for your own sanity,
I will restrain you; at last, I will know your cure.