A Nightmare was one of the hardest poems to write in the collection. It was written in response to Song of Solomon 5:2-8. In that text, in a nightmare, the beloved rejects her lover and then is beaten up in the city as she tries to find him again.
I was well aware when writing it that I was walking on sensitive ground. It’s hard at the moment to get away from issues of rape culture, although that’s not specifically what I had in mind in this poem. I was trying more to highlight the theme of the contest between fantasy and reality. Even though fantasy can be hugely attractive and is sold in our culture as such, in choosing to wake up, in choosing her husband, in some ways I think the wife chooses reality over fantasy. She chooses the glass of milk over the glass of vodka.