Alex awoke from a dream that Dolores O’Riordan was calling him.

Not by name,

Or even with words,

But with the green,

Mystic and nonverbal call

That wavered broken and lilting in her music

And revealed her as an old soul.

 

Turning to face an ashen dawn on the fringes of his draperies,

Alex wondered if the coroner had discovered her cause of death.

He imagined as he drifted off again,

In a sexual haze,

The smell of her breath as it was at the end:

Metallic, chemical, a trace whiff of the prime of her youth in Limerick.

 

Another dream,

That he had gone to the basement bathroom,

 

But a small brown dog had entered,

And in an exuberant way kept jumping up on his leg, as if to knock him off his aim,

As if the dog might suddenly lunge at his penis.

 

That morning O’Riordan’s calls echoed as he scanned news reports,

Only to find no cause of death named, and perhaps not for some time.

Outside was still gray,

And a mist had fallen on the windshields along the street.

No one was about this Saturday.

 

They said that an opioid overdose had caused Tom Petty’s death.

 

He listened to her songs,

The callings that had come as lost yearning and a final goodbye in his dreamscape,

Thinking linearly now about the sadness of her bipolar disorder,

Her affliction with depression,

Sorry for the anorexia,

How she bore her back pain,

And her molestation as the littlest, most frail of girls, only six…

And what something like that does to a person…

 

Nightfall, and Alex allowed himself a waking belief,

That O’Riordan’s departing spirit had called to him the night before,

Even though he hadn’t thought of her or The Cranberries for years now – indeed decades,

Since a distant summer of his own youth, 1993.

 

Since he’d last been enthralled by the broken,

Lilting voice of Dolores O’Riordan calling from some mystical green glen,

That transcended popular music,

A wooded vale containing secret incantations of generations,

A storm-tossed sea off the Irish coast at Kilkee.

 

His last linear thought around midnight was to wonder:

If for all her pain and the beauty she breathed into life,

Dolores had died from an opioid overdose too.

 

Thinking then of how many others might have dreamt a visit,

And how she couldn’t be everywhere like that, and if she was,

How she’d have to die to be like that.

 

Sleep then, Sunday,

And no dreams that he could remember that night.

 

**

Photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer