Manifest

SEAN BOUSTEAD

In fairness they were as surprised as I,
exhausting the manifest and finding
I was seated already on the short flight.
A cop set his hand on his white patent
leather holster – a father giving cold
consolation to a child, it seemed. But
this was just a dream and I dreamt the gate
opening to me, and if the cop called out
violently, if the cop said nothing,
it was lost in the assumed moment.
Instead a lightless corridor presented
and I spoke as I walked it:
I am only
dreaming.
And then I dreamt myself onboard
a soundless plane, and now I think of it
the silence was a strange, integral thing.
Or did I notice the silence at the time,
surprised out of remembering the thought
the instant I sighted my other, travelled self?
He was strapped in his seat, reading Alvaro
de Campos’ poem “So many gods”,
not that it matters. None of it matters –
that I sat to speak with him, nor what I meant
to say, nor what I now imagine meaning.
Read what you will into my reaching
to touch him, my leaning into his lips,
my watching as his lips began to open.
It was only a dream, and a dream drifts
moment to moment of desire and fear,
and I watched in the dream as the dream shifted.
Now I walked alone in a field of cow-
shit. Words I had intended for that man
I sent into an empty world, now.

 

Manifest by Sean Boustead was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2018) judged by Dominic James.

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