Dreams, Puzzles and Chocolate
Nick Hodge


“I dream in chocolate,” she said.

Never failing an opportunity to be obtuse,

he cut his eyes quickly to meet hers and asked,

“What do you mean?” 

“Mean?  What do you mean,

what do I mean?  Chocolate. 

It’s what I dream about. 

That’s all I mean,” she said.


Strangely, Freud, the Apocalypse, Gabriel,

Just War Theory, Mother Mary and T. S. Eliot flashed


through his imagination as he considered some

useless bit of information he picked

-up, from where he had no idea, that

chocolate and semen had identical enzymes,

and why he should think

of any of that at just this moment,

he had no clue.


“Shit,” he said, “sometimes

I wish I didn’t think.”  Looking


at the dining-room table and the three

jigsaw puzzles mixed up just

to make the process interesting, he muttered,

“Who am I kidding--it’s not any more

challenging.  After all,

one’s an Hasidic Jew kissing

a baby, one’s an impressionist

landscape, and one’s a Grandfather

-clock with a yellow kitten sitting


in the window, the pendulum just

above his head.  Those pieces’ll all snap


together neater than a brandy poured

on a mundanely tedious October evening.”

He laughed at himself, shaking his head.

“What’s so funny?” she asked, “Are you laughing at me?”

“No,” he said, “no, no.  Not laughing at you at all.”

“Well then, what, exactly, are you laughing at?”


He looked over at his writing table, piled
with books dog-eared, opened,

cigarette ashes coating the right-hand side,

the light filtering through Venetian blinds,

particles of dust dancing in the light like galaxies

floating down to rest finally on his books;

he browsed the titles and chuckled

to himself even his mutterings were meta-fictional.

“Myself, my darling,” he said,

“Myself.  Have you ever known

of anything so helplessly amusing?”


She had to agree with that.  Everything

about him was funny, even his

tragically innate seriousness, and she laughed,

“Well, we all have our quirks.  Mine is chocolate.”