The Red Box


“I am sending you a red box,”
the voice says in my dream
(a dream within a dream, really).
“Will you be there to receive it?”

An image of a lipstick-red, life-sized,
shiny red box dances in my head.
“I will!” I say, wondering who would
send me such an extravagant gift.

“Will you be coming, too?”
I add quickly, remembering manners.
I am asleep, if you recall, have no idea
who I am speaking to: a poor connection.

“Do you know who I am?” asks caller.
“Yes, of course!” I respond, not actually
knowing at all,  trying to be polite.
“Looking forward to it.” Am I?

“You don’t sound surprised.”
“Surprised and delighted!” I assure,
falsely – in this semi-consciousness,
sensibility has not yet set in.

Only when I disconnect, do I panic.
Some distant memory surfaces,
a vague recollection of indiscretion –
have I invited danger into my house?

Now, I am awake – faculties firing,
heart still beating, curious/ alert.
What could this mean, this
dream within a dream?

Look to where my mind went –
larger than life expectations,
when no such detail was revealed –
was the panic just as unwarranted?

Am I subconsciously mocking:
commenting on the instability
of thought processes, in this
altered state of health?

I ponder meaning, wonder at
the significance of red boxes,
when my husband delivers –
a small, red patterned box.

“I won this for you,” he says.
Three beaded necklaces inside.
I thank him, dismissively, rapt
in my mystery, inattentive –

I’m sending you a red box;
was the message, will you be
present to receive it? –
Oh God!
The pieces fall in place.

Presence alone heals
weakening connections,
honest communication,
with expectations aside.

Distraction, fear, anxiety
are the undermining factors
that rape relationships
turn us from the actual gift.

I am awake, but dreaming
suspended between fantasies
of promising futures, and insults
from the past – selfish indulgence.

Marriage is the red box,
in its ever altered form –
offering endless gifts if
only we’d receive it.



Published by


Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

5 thoughts on “The Red Box”

  1. V.J., I appreciate your poem. It’s true we need to take those near to us not for granted. I just woke from a nightmare spelling out a few of my losses due to my chronic pain. Ill health mars our relationships…
    All the best 🐻 💜 🌙 🌌


    1. I had a sister who was sick all her life and I remember it from the other side – now I am in her shoes and the struggle continues. Thanks for commenting and take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry to hear about the ill health your sister went through, as well as your ongoing health problems. It’s a strange world, isn’t it, when we’re having to constantly view it through ill eyes. We’re not the same people anymore. We cannot go back. We learn to cope and adjust and do the best of a ‘bad job’.
        Take care 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I never delete a poem of yours without reading it – little (or big) gems. I am working my way through them gradually. I love the reminder to give attention to those who are fixtures in our lives. I have a busy mind – plans, concepts, considerations – all SO important. I believe people are the most important thing in life, but am a bit bored by my day-to-day interactions with them. Now, if I could converse with Emily Dickinson…… It is a true gift to be able to see the preciousness of the commonplace others and give it its due.


    1. Oh, I so miss passionate discussions – such a rare treat. I cherish the fact that you read my dribble – you are such a gift to me. All the best for the New Year.


Comments are closed.