April's theme was dreams.

"Repetition of Trial" by Jennifer Sawicki
I sit. I wait.
Upon warm fabrics of cotton and silk.
I wave my arms, move my hands, to get a better look at what I see.
Crackled, deformed, shriveled up ash.
Spires of dead nails grasp at my window.
Vision blurred, but focused on one.
Fingers, an arm,
The Nails.
Shimmering bright, a yellow light.
A present given by false hope.
A concept, a nightmare, a reason to cope.
I stand. I wait.
Feet clutched at cold, snow fabric.
I shake with defiance and rip up the blinds.
Bare, empty, and nothing to see.
With mismatched steps and a click of unnatural light.
A search.
A hunt for it or maybe I.
I creep. I wait.
Eerie screeches whip and slash.
A heart, a life, in it.
The Nails.
With a snap my eyes slit open.
I sit. I wait.
I look to see.
Spires of dead nails grasping at my feet.

"I’ve Never Visited That Old House Down the Street" by Mance Ranne

Cracking my toy piano, I used to notice the

mustard stains that lifted bony arms towards

that old house down the street.  

 An old maid, she wore a floral nightgown which

“matched the sheen of her shingles”, but I,

not having worn her old shoes, hated the smell. Nobody wanted

that old house down the street. 

Though, ninety-seven has finally allowed me to remove my glass eyes. Now I

can follow the ketchup grease and bluebells which fell down the wrinkles of

that old house down the street. 

But, paper can’t smell like loose-powder doughnuts. Licking plastic

can’t make me hate the warmth of bleached bread. I regret not going to

that old house down the street. 

I’ve never visited that old house down the street. 

Eating corndogs and grits then, I couldn’t have known how

she stayed there so long. So for now, I’ll wear my own knitting to be

that old house down the street. 

"Lucid" by Caroline Perry

     A large, plump man paced in front of me, a cigarette hanging off his lip. That must have
been his fifth in the last hour. I tried to will my pulse to slow. If I could just calm myself, perhaps I
could answer his incoming questions in a somewhat composed manner. The man pulled a chair
up to the table, locking his fingers. He cast his heavy gaze down at the files containing the
uncomfortable amount of information about me. His eyes flickered back up to my face,
inspecting my dark, sunken eyes and comparing them to the once bright eyes that appeared in
the faded picture paperclipped to my document.
     “Miss Parker,” he spoke, his voice low and raspy.
     “Call me Eden.” I tried not to slur my words as I passed a hand over my eyes and stifled
a yawn.
     He raised an eyebrow for a fraction of a second, dropping the file on the table. He
sighed. “Miss Parker,” he repeated, “how long have you been able to lucid dream?”
     I leaned back, tilting my chair onto two legs. My thoughts ran back through the amount of
nights I’d spent avoiding the dreams, and how many nights since I’d given in and began
embracing them. I further contemplated his question, trying to remember the first time I started
dreaming willingly.
     “I was probably thirteen when they started.” I shifted a little, my eyes widening as I nearly
flipped the chair. I stopped tipping it after that. “So maybe five, six years.” I recalled the first time
I became aware I was dreaming and the freedom that came with it. I had built a world for myself
where nothing stopped me from building the life I wanted. No governments or stupid
organizations could take away my freedom.
     “Are you aware that lucid dreaming is illegal?” His hand settled on my dream journal. I
hoped he hadn’t read it yet.
     “Yes.” My voice was monotone.
     “And why do you think your parents never stopped you? It is standard protocol for
children’s dreams to be regulated.”
     As if I didn’t know that. The government tried to regulate my dreams even now by
depriving me of sleep. If I didn’t sleep, I wouldn’t dream.
     “I’m an orphan, sir. Is that standard protocol?”
     His lips formed a straight line as he put out his cigarette on the table. He opened his
mouth to say something, but I beat him to it.
     “Is it standard protocol to gun down all potential ‘threats’ to your organization? Even
without evidence?” I leant heavily on the table, glaring at the man. I interrupted again before he
had the chance to reply. “Is it standard protocol to imprison the boy who had to care for his
sister? Is it standard protocol to kill him so I have to fend for myself?” I was standing by this
point, and the man gestured for me to sit. I crossed my arms. For the first time I was ready to
willingly return to my cell. “Your ‘standard protocol’ is the reason I dream.” Even if I wanted to, I
couldn’t stop now.
     “I don’t make the rules. I simply enforce them.”
     My nails dug crescents into my palms. “Well if you’re going to imprison me for the rest of
my life, you might as well answer me one question: where is the danger in dreaming? Is it that
I’m thinking for myself? That I want a say in my future?”
     The man scowled, picking up my dream journal and fanning through the pages. His eyes
flickered across the words every so often. “The danger, Miss Parker--”
     He cleared his throat. “The danger is that these,” he dropped the journal in front of me,
“are leaking into reality.” He gestured at our reflections in the one way glass. “You may not see
it, seeing as you spend more time in your head than the real world, but you’re changing basic
laws of nature.” He stood, collecting the documents and the journal. “You’re playing with
people’s free will. And you’re destroying yourself in the process.”
     I was looking into the eyes of the man who had murdered my family, and right now I truly
wanted to return the favor. “You’re despicable,” I spat. ”You and your organization.”
     He turned to leave. “I apologize on their behalf, Eden. I’m just doing my job. If it were up
to me it wouldn’t be like this.”

     I woke with a start, my knuckles white. I sat up, brushing my hair away from my
dampened forehead. The smell of cigarettes was still fresh in the air and the echo of the heavy
metal door rang in my ears. I was relieved until I felt the cold cell floor on my feet.

"Hapless Reverie" by Maxwell Payne
I sailed upon a sea of dreams
of sweet longings and hopeless hoping: an ocean
washing over edges of untold reams.

subtle lilacs, the horizon laid open
vicious scarlets snared at its edges
enraptured in its colors till I was awoken:

And heard the angel’s sweet song as she alleges-
harking me towards unfathomable heights:
above heaven itself, far from these dredges!

 She sang a song of blinding light: 
“You are destined for the stars, Darling!
Swim the lengths of the rushing white,

And I’ll fly you to them as a seraphim starling!”
In a flurry of joy, I jumped into the space
Swam to the beat of her voice, my calling:

Suddenly- molten silver sliding atop visions of faces
Twisted metal cauterized their wounds of anguish.
Ah! Mere daydreams, ignore these false graces!

Follow the voice and your troubles will languish
As puddles unto a sweltering summer sky.

When I reached her:
Wings wilted, voice lilted,
Body twisted into eldritch space-
Tendrils ensnared my body.

At once she dived underneath the stream-
Witnessing Her vivisected victims:
Sunken eyes, bloated dreams,
Torn at the seams, by the rusted chains of doubt.

And now I join their ranks
Sitting as a corpse upon the void’s floor
Motivation c oll
        ap s
               e   d.

"Altered" by Nomie Khishigjargal
plural noun: dreams
1. .a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep.
I’m down on time so here’s what I have to say as quickly as I can.
I can’t help but notice the media buzzing with madness.
Society is a snarling beast every time I hold it inside of my hands.
Things are so dismal, our entertainment so trivial.
I’ve asked the few friends I have for versions of their reality and all the possible dreams that they can
come up with in their head.
First when questioned they can’t manage to look up from their phones long enough to be clear on true
What are dreams? I am the philosopher here therefore I should be obligated to ask.
Maybe dreams are the ticking of the clock at your busy workplace.
Empty grocery stores, lonesome car rides.
Blank white walls draining reality

"in the arms of my depression" by Kayla Burris

Technically speaking, my eyes were closed. What the world didn’t see was that they were wide open. Behind shut eyelids, a planet so complex. Complex in the most positive sense. Flowers coated with undiscovered pigments, the orange sky held cotton candy clouds, extinct animals nibbled fresh, soft grass. Rather than inhaling air, my lungs fill with the purest form of beauty. My bright smile faced a purple fruit tree. I reached up for the bright apple. Standing on my tippiest of toes, my fingers brushed the base of the foreign fruit. I wasn’t tall enough. I could feel my stomach grumbling. Frustrated, I sprung from the ground until my thys burned and the soles of my feet ached. As I jumped at my last attempt I was suddenly elevated. Confused, I peered down towards my feet. Beneath me stood a huge, furry creature lifting me up. I turned back towards the apple and proceeded to pluck it from the branch. The ball of fur then cradled me in it’s enormous arms. It had to be at least eight feet tall. He stared into my curious eyes. His face looked so melancholic. The loneliest of lonely filled his heart, that was clear. I could almost feel it just looking at him. Initially, I was afraid but I quickly found comfort within his arms. I wasn’t alone anymore, we had each other. From that point on we were inseparable. My dainty hands gripped his enormous paw everywhere we went. Most ran when they saw him. They were afraid. They didn’t want to understand, to know him. But it was alright because I had him and he had me. I was no longer alone, but I could no longer open my eyes. I was trapped behind the darkness of my lids. Hopeless that I may never return, I made myself comfortable and accepted my fate.