It is a surreal drumbeat that supplies the subconscious soundtrack for my dream, thudding exotically while I search in desperation beneath endless layers of grey woolen blankets for my dead grandfather. Finally I find him, and he’s angry with me — frustrated but crying, as he did so often after the strokes when he was still alive. Yet he embraces me with those thin, frail arms, those trembling, arthritic hands with their twistknot fingers, and then in his old-man way, he stabs me in the back with something dull and jagged, again, again, again. Haltingly, weakly, his other arm pulling me in close against him so he can tell me something — a thing I know will be weighted by an immeasurable profundity — but it’s all drowned out by that drumbeat, that slow cymbalic whisper, the mournful, ululant thrust of it rising, falling.
And I wake up. It’s exactly 4:00 AM, and ten seconds later there is a rising rush, the whisper-howl of pebbles cast from a vast sky and it suddenly begins to hail. It lasts for forty-five seconds and stops just as suddenly, as if someone has simply turned it off, leaving me in my post-dream half-haze wondering if it has even happened at all.
My back hurts where he struck me with his unspeakable wisdom, dead-center between the shoulder blades, a message from the dead lost amid the fading thrumdrum of a bone-dry sonorism.