He carried it as a ball
in a sack he wore around his waist
when he visited dream time before dawn,
when everyone else was aching to wake,
their organs swelling,
their bladders full.
He took the product from dream to dream
riding on a wooden wagon drawn by goats
who wore tiny brass bells
and sprigs of rosemary.
As he moved between dreams
through high plains and vast expanses of sand,
the product’s name shifted,
the strokes and curls of its letters,
in bright greens and dark reds,
snaking their way around the canvas wagon cover,
slowly mutating to fit whatever camouflage
dictated the current dream’s assumptions.
He used a goat goad,
fashioned from a thick, curled branch,
to fend off mouths and horns and damp noses
when he pulled over and poured a wee dram
into a tarnished copper cup
to ease his passing.
In several strangely related dreams,
he was called Nick,
and his wagon became a sleigh
and the goats reindeer,
their scented sprigs blossoming into mistletoe
and the sand turning into drifts of driven snow.
The call of the product pushed him
ever forward and beyond,
until he paid no more attention
to changing form as he travelled
than he did to the beating of his heart
or the air he breathed.
And the little presence that he squandered,
like trails of crumbs dropped along the path
of a drunkard gnawing on bits of dried bread,
brought smiles to the faces of some who noticed
and scowls to others who always seemed to expect more.
Under decorated trees in wrapped boxes
or stuffed in fluffy socks beside lit candles
or buried in tombs on the breastplates of queens and kings,
he pressed the imprint of the product
as deeply as he could.
And then he moved on.