uncooked oatmeal in a plastic bag

In dreams I imagine you encased in chainmail,
a wayward piece of history
pouring coffee in my kitchen every night.

You insert a leaf into the round table
at which King Arthur eats his morning oatmeal and eggs.
King Arthur finishes his bowl and leaves.

I knit you a sweater to wear under your chainmail but
you tell me the desert is too hot for another layer.
I understand. I put my knitting needles away.

You slip quietly out the door after handing the sweater
back to me. I hold it in my lap, folded.
When I hear the door close, I begin to
unravel it from the neck down.

Say hello to the desert crickets for me
when you march valiantly into battle.
Remember the oatmeal sweater I made you.
Remember King Arthur, oatmeal still stuck to his ribs.

If I could weave together for you words to wear
under your chainmail, I would. But I do not write when I sleep,
and these hands cannot spark life on their own.

When I wake you’re always gone. The kitchen table is round again.
I fry two eggs and get out two bowls and think,
One of you must be real. One of you must be real.
I have made too much oatmeal to eat alone.