Don’t Let Me Down

Sarah Trudgeon

My husband says he doesn’t really like
short stories, says only novels
capture the human experience.
But he does not mean
how in novels you always learn
about the people’s childhoods,
even though you do.
He is writing a book about
how he became a writer.
It’s a gambit. So he asked
if I had a formative narrative
about myself as a writer.
But, what? I don’t think I do.
He does. The clouds
look awfully large today
and awfully low—
white, bright, but somehow menacing.
Our toddler woke the other night
and when I went to check
on him he just whispered sadly,
“He got me.” He often dreams
of tigers, then last night I
dreamed of a tiger.
It was standing on a lake
lapping water the way
they do in documentaries
and then it chased me down a street
in my own neighborhood—
where I live now, anyway.
I did not grow up in a neighborhood.
“A road with a gas station”
is the joke I make
for the East Coast elites
with whom I now associate.
Similarly, I can never believe
my husband really loves me,
even though he does.
His novel got translated
into Chinese. “I had a dream last night
I was some kind of god, I think,”
is what he said to me
this morning. In mine
I paid a woman seven dollars
for a donut, and then there was the tiger.
I woke up when he got me.

Sarah Trudgeon is the author of the chapbooks Dreams of Unhappiness and The Plot Against the Baby. She is the director of education for the writers’ residency and public humanities project The Mastheads.
Originally published:
January 1, 2020



Race Off

The fantasy of race transformation
Namwali Serpell


Suicide in Fiction, Reconsidered

Why we need stories about living after a suicide attempt
Morgan Thomas


Discipline and Abolish

Writing, power, and mass incarceration
Rachel Kushner,
Caleb Smith

You Might Also Like

Pandemic Files

Do the Boy Scouts Have a Future?

Sarah Trudgeon


Greenish Picture

Margaret Ross


Become a subscriber to get four beautiful issues a year for just $49—and help keep print culture alive.