IV. A “Counter-Wish” Dream (151)

Peter J. Grieco

It was the cleverest of all my dreamers

who provides the next example. She had

rebelled, violently, against the idea

of having to spend the summer

with her mother-in-law, so she’d engaged,

successfully, rooms in a far distant

resort—in order to avoid the propinquity

she dreaded. Now it just so happened

that I had been lecturing her the previous

afternoon on the principal of dreams being

fulfillment of wishes (though often disguised)

when she came to report a new specimen:


She was riding in a luxurious carriage

beside her mother-in-law, across a

dazzling landscape, to the place

in the country where they were

to spend their holiday together,

the two of them laughing & smiling &

congratulating each other on the

wonderful summer that lay ahead.


“Now, Herr Doktor, hasn’t this dream undone

the solution I had wished for? Is it not

the sharpest contradiction of your theory?”

No doubt; but it was only necessary

to follow the dream’s logical consequence

in order to arrive at its interpretation.

The dream showed that I was wrong. Thus it was her

wish that I might be wrong, & her dream showed

the wish fulfilled. So I was right.


Peter J. Grieco is a native of Buffalo, NY and teaches writing at the University of Buffalo where he wrote his dissertation on working-class poetry. He is a prolific song writer and poet. His work has appeared recently in Bond Street Review, Tiger’s Eye, Right Hand Pointing, Poehemians, Paper Nautilus, Constellation, Sand, and Chiron Review.