Sometimes it is in desolation that we discover
and so, on Highway 2 in the Upper peninsula
my brother, at the wheel, roars into another car.
It’s not his fault.
The other driver’s car turned into our 72’ LTD.
He was drunk on his CB
and maybe listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive –
that song, Roll on Down the Highway.
By the tamarack trees’ silent humming
and the road side’s crushed gravel,
I drowned for a moment in desolation.
Heard small ambulances
and a horde of flies that’d become
but in fact, radiant sparkling stars, each one
inviting me up
into a threshold of light.
I watched my father reaching his hand up
into one star,
although he was unconscious and dulled
by the auto wreckage.
It was as if Heaven had suddenly and softly
descended down to us
right here in the torment of a car’s wreckage,
and we were applicants, finding a way in.
And my brother was being carried up
into a small compartment of light,
like a Luna moth’s cocoon,
and when I watched him nearly enter the mirror
of a foggy glistening –
as if he were becoming a friction made of stars
and a bristling laughter –
I felt my own body stirring into a type of fracture,
like I was cleaving into a wordless venture.
And my father, slumped over, began to resemble
a cardinal, gathering wings for travel.
All the remaining space around us
fell into a kind of rapture,
like a soundless song being spun on a revolving
And but for the day’s fresh sunlight
and the Great Lake’s
tidal pull, we three found ourselves
awake, alive here –
in a harpooned 72’ Ford LTD Brougham
by the EMS’ worried characterization,
becoming a tomb.
# # #
Ken Meisel is a poet and psychotherapist from the Detroit area. He is a 2012 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow, Pushcart Prize nominee, Swan Duckling chapbook contest winner, winner of the Liakoura Prize and the author of six poetry collections: The Drunken Sweetheart at My Door (FutureCycle Press: 2015), Scrap Metal Mantra Poems (Main Street Rag: 2013), Beautiful Rust (Bottom Dog Press: 2009), Just Listening (Pure Heart Press: 2007), Before Exiting (Pure Heart Press: 2006) and Sometimes the Wind (March Street Press: 2002). His work in over 90 national magazines including Cream City Review, Rattle, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Midwestern Gothic, Concho River Review, San Pedro River Review, Boxcar Review.
Photo: Ryan McGuire