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Rousseau’s Dream

Robert Yalam

Scottsdale, AZ

BASIS Scottsdale




I pool over an armchair,

My expansive self

Bloated in the sheen

Of gold-leaf tiles,

And dream of snakes tangled in my hair. 


Emerald leaves haze over yellow light,

Cicada’s buzz and trumpet’s song

Drown a nagging hum hooked in my ears.

I comb through my hair, now free from braids of silken scales;

Instead I dream of breasts swollen from snake bites.


Draped around my neck,

Gently, liberal constriction,

Snakes nourish their original sin

Without fear of any god’s punishment. 

Now I dream of a god’s heaven, an opalescent speck.


Elephant’s eye burns my skin

But still I sing to my suckling snakes,

Feed from me,

They swathe me in their finest selves –   

I dream I gift my beauty from within.



She watches as we swallow the lion whole,

His round eyes, pleading, unspoken, yearning,

Hers glazed with rainforest sap.


Sheathed men serenade our lethal seduction

With blaring horns, chanting hymns

In praise of our indulgence.


Tropical tapestry, a woven verdant shield

From some god’s glaring eye,

His heavenly Moon dares not penetrate our Garden.



She is a gypsy, thick oil slick 

Pouring over Egyptian eyes

And full body.


Swaddled in Eden, heavenly womb,

She croons, a seraph among vultures,

As she coddles lion cubs, free from sin.


An empress dressed in finery,

New king of the jungle – 


Born of flesh, she reposes, 

Cleopatra among Godless servants.


This poem is like a dark Garden of Eden in Jumanji, with a hint of ecstasy added in and a gothic feel building up towards the end. Not only is it beautifully written, it's so wonderfully vivid as if everything's coming alive... just, hopefully not like Jumanji.


Robert Yalam will graduate from BASIS Scottsdale, in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2020. He enjoys writing about the art and films he sees, and his work has been recognized by the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and a few local competitions. He enjoys taking photos of the world around him, hiking, and exploring new places.

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