My dream of the night before puzzles me. Remember. I am almosting it. I was walking amongst my subjects in the street of harlots, disguised as a carpet merchant. I found there amongst the tanyard smells a young man, quite lost, dressed in rancid rags illdyed black. He looked near starvation so I offered him a melon, but he would not eat. Instead, he delighted in its smell. I led him to an open hallway and showed him the greatest treasure amongst my wares, a piece of tapestry that transports any who sit upon it in an instant to any person imaginable, without being stopped by any obstacle. He asked who? And I said you shall see. But when we sat together on the red carpet it was as if in that instant of transformation I became not the dreamer but the dreamed. I felt not myself. I was not myself. I had become my dark companion and what was left of me existed only as the name Haroun al Raschid within the memory of his dream, now my dream. I sat on a beach watching an inrushing tide. There were other people, but I could see only dimly, an Egyptian man and woman with hennaed faces, the woman’s hair trailing. There was a dog, dead with a creamfruit smell, and a live one too, lightly kicked by the Egyptian for a transgression I didn’t see. I watched as well as I could, the dog sniffing a rock, then lifting a hind leg and pissing against it. Then the dog repeated himself against an unsmelt rock. I cannot be sure as something was terribly wrong with my vision, but I believe I saw the unhappy beast collapse into painful yelping and as his hind paws scattered the sand his forepaws stretched, altering itself into the paw of a leopard. With a shake, screaming, the entire leopard sprung forth from the sand. It was the offspring of a lion and a panther within whose womb, impatient with the delays of time, he had felt burdened by gestation. He had torn and ripped until he was discharged forth into the world, his birth damaged and scarred his mother’s womb forevermore. Horrible now, upon this beach, he roots and scrapes. Scratching. Stopping to listen. Scratching. His merciless bright eyes hungry, scraping the earth. Salivating now, listening. Scratching, then triumphant as a carrion vulture, revealing the carcass of his dead mother.