by Ken Meisel
When the dream awakens & the sleeping coma
is no longer present, the self finds an awakening –
its love revelation – in the other. & maybe all this
happens at a simple restaurant & the couple is
serving one another a hot dish of something
& she’s there, pouring him his wine & he’s
smiling, receiving it, & now they are feeding
one another spoons of food, & suddenly he’s
looking intently into her eyes, just to see her;
& what he sees then, also, is himself, what he’s
meant to be to himself & to her & to them,
as if the future, that open water, is here; & time
is the cellophane boundary that is pierced.
& the coma is just the remembering of the other
right now as the other that was always inevitable.
& maybe love is that portal. & so the couple
preserves it, that portal; & they build an entire
world inside it, so they can always move
through it, like dance steps down a dancehall.
&, just what is the coma, awakening, if not
just this remembrance of one another, inside
the cellophane boundary that time has pierced?
She said to me: “let’s stay young inside this,
forever.” Wasn’t that the first vow? & I said –
& just with my eyes because I didn’t have the
words for it yet – “it is a fervor that gives its
self to another so that what was once solid,
becomes porous & a makeshift for another’s
life.” & didn’t Gilbert say, in one of his poems,
that the spirit – inside the self – is, in fact,
something voiceless flying lovely, over
an empty landscape? Yes, her eyes said back
to me, that is what love is: “it is the coma,
awakened, that the lover flies so emptied
over a lovely landscape, into the homestead
Ken Meisel is a poet and psychotherapist, a 2012 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of eight books of poetry. His most recent books are: Our Common Souls: New & Selected Poems of Detroit (Blue Horse Press: 2020) and Mortal Lullabies (FutureCycle Press: 2018). He has a new book, Studies Inside the Consent of a Distance forthcoming in 2022 from Kelsay Books. Meisel has recent work in Concho River Review, I-70 Review, San Pedro River Review, The Wayfarer and Rabid Oak.