Marja Hagborg

Sleep Preacher and Snow Flake

In my dreams, even in my nightmares, I'm still young. The old fears and insecurities march like a gay pride parade in front of the religious right, threatening and scornful in their provocative costumes and sexual symbols.

These are not my childhood or my teenage years I keep rerunning in my head. Most often it's about early adulthood when life is all about getting ahead or losing it forever. A lover leaves and instead of insane desire and neediness there is only a flat line after a life barely lived. And every time is the last time until the next time.

But childhood still looms when in some occasional dreams I'm almost happy, full of anticipation and open undestroyed optimism. The dreamland woods are quiet and peaceful with falling snowflakes. For a moment I feel my mother's warm breath on my face when I'm sitting in the snow wrapped in my grandmother's old fur coat. She gives me a cup of milk and a piece of rye bread. Drops of perspiration are running on her flushed face when she's sitting next to me drinking a cup of coffee before she starts chopping down the next tree.

When the tree falls, millions of shimmering snow flakes start their slow fall toward the ground in the anemic January sun. Some of the flakes stay on my eyelashes for a moment before they melt. I put my hand in the tracks of a hare. One, one, two, one, one, two entirely different from the fox's tracks, a neat straight line of paw prints.

The short day quickly turns into night, and fear fills every inch of me.

One summer day God starts talking through a 17-year old daughter of a neighbor. The girl is lying on her bed in a Spartan bedroom on the attic, a microphone placed on the bedside table and a loudspeaker outside of the house where hundreds of people are gathered to hear her preaching. She's in a sleep, they say. Some say she's unconscious while she repeats words God puts into her mouth. Some people say she started preaching after her father had caught her in bed with a lumberjack and beat the hell out of her. Whatever the reason, she has regained her parents' love. I love her too because she is kind and beautiful. Before God started talking through her she had taught me to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Copyright 2009 Marja Hagborg


Marja Hagborg is a Finnish-Swedish-American writer/artist/cartoonist living in Chicago with a Viking husband and twin cats. She received a MFA from University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and she also studied creative writing at Northwestern University in Chicago. Her flash fiction has appeared in Mad Hatters' Review, Hackwriters, Anemone Sidecar, Street Cake, Snow Monkey, and Wheelhouse Magazine among other publications.