I know the man
in my dreams.
He shows up there
In dreams, he eats
at my table,
leans far back
in my chair.
Stands too close
in my closet.

In real life,
he's never seen
my apartment.
But in dreams
he is haunting me,
like the word loam.

I have heard loam
five times this week,
maybe never before.

It started ordinarily,
in poems,
a gardening magazine.
But then, loam
on the radio.
as the punchline
to an elevator joke.

To rid myself
I make it my own,
send loam back
underfoot. Tramp it
hard with my boot.
Pass over it.
Pass this
over to the man.

"Cleansing" first appeared in Loose Change