Chapters of Conception Dreams

Ashley Park

I. Boat.

He is a sailor alone at sea, looking for his father. A school of dolphins comes to his beckoning hand. “Find him. Find him,” he begs. Instead, they sing, “light, light, light.” One by one, they leave, until there is but one left- with a smile that looks like the woman he loves. He wakes up.


A dream.

The next day, his wife takes a pregnancy test that comes out positive. Her stomach is split open, west to east. The boy comes out feet first, hair down to his knees, covering his eyes, mouth, and folded hands. When his son opens his lips, it is a twisted language of two origins- one his preschool teacher doesn’t understand. “You must learn how to speak,” he tells his boy. One year later, his son asks him for a sibling in perfect English. He asks his son if he ever dreams- his son looks back at him confused.

​II. Zoo.


He is a caretaker, looking for his father. Peering into the window, the glass turns blurry from his breath, but inside he sees a tree. There are pythons of every color. “Find him. Find him,” he begs. Instead, they shush him. “Shhh. Shhh.” He turns to look at his right side. A red snake, tongue flickering in and out, like a candle. He screams and wakes up with a start.


A dream.


Definitely a dream.


9 months later,  His wife is opened up again, east to west- a girl they say looks just like him, her hair down to her feet, clipped back in a bun, showing eyes, mouth, and open hands. When she opens her lips, it is a muffled warble that skips over its own syllables- he doesn’t tell his girl that she must learn how to speak- he is careful this time to teach her so no preschool teacher asks what language they speak in his home.


III. Night.


His daughter asks him for a sibling in perfect Korean. He asks his daughter if she dreams. She says yes, and he gives her a dog. Two weeks later, she wakes up screaming  in the middle of the night about a ghost she saw over Daddy’s body. 


Her dream.

IV. Acceptance of the births and No Answers.


The sailor still looks for his father while giving advice to the dolphin.

The caretaker feeds the snake, wondering if she can see his dad too.

And the father thinks that being a dreamer must run in the family. 

He does not think that there can be an end to this story.