Cameo Dream State by Dennis Maulsby

Cameo Dream State

A soldier ankle-deep in delta mud,
stares at a woman’s profile, her cameo
carved on the back of his Rolex.
Outbound currents reshuffle

diamond-winking gulf waves.
Passing clouds turn the sea salt-white.
A pod of bottlenose dolphins
spinning stories of the ancient

landmass of Laramidia swap
short-lived tales with island-bound
Komodo Dragons. The reptiles’ claws
dig up fossil-rich wetlands, resurrect

stone-turned bones and mottled leather
of Parasaurus, Kosmoceratops, Velociraptor
—last dragons wrapping serrated teeth
into the lost fat of ancestors. The wave-feathered

night-gulf becomes quiet, unsinkable
India ink. The face on the watch-cameo
smolders, a le coup de foudre occurs, the soldier
falls suddenly in love again.
Author’s Note: Laramidia was an island-continent that existed during
the Late Cretaceous period. The area is rich in dinosaur fossils.

Dennis Maulsby lives in Ames, Iowa. His poems and short stories have appeared in The North American Review, Mainstreet Rag, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Briarcliff Review (Pushcart nomination), and on National Public Radio’s Themes & Variations. His traditionally published books include: Near Death/Near Life (poetry—MWSA gold medal winner), Free Fire Zone (short stories—MWSA Silver medal winner), Winterset (short stories—Eric Hoffer Award winner and Global Ebook gold medal winner), The Fantasy Works (collection), and House de Gracie (novel). Maulsby is an associate member of the SFWA and past president (2012 – 2014) of the Iowa Poetry Association.

Editor’s Note: “The common French idiomatic expression le coup de foudre, pronounced coo d(eu) foodr(eu), is a common weather term for extreme mauvais temps (“bad weather”): a bolt or flash of lightning, or a thunderbolt. But, as you might expect, since French is the language of love, le coup de foudre also has a figurative meaning that is well known to French-speaking natives: “love at first sight,” which delivers a kind of shock, too. The figurative meaning is a bit more common in French [ThoughtCo].

Image credit: The dinosaur and damsel ( perhaps captures the duality of images and emotion in the poem. Here is more information on Larimidia.