Reflections of You

I was in a coma,
I dreamed a world much like this one,
in it, we were married,
we had eight kids,
we lived in a house so big
we had to post maps
with arrows showing You are here
so the children could find their way,
in this dream world,
sometimes you got so drunk,
you were lost for days.
 
We had a dinner party with 100 guests,
only 80 made it home that night,
two were never seen again,
no one ever visited after that.
 
Finally, I came out of the coma,
you are not my wife,
we don’t have any children,
we live in a two-bedroom apartment
above a Chinese laundry,
with only our pet zebra (a pygmy variety)
for company,
just as before my injury.
 
And yet, some things seem off,
didn’t I have an old Mustang,
and you a sewing hobby?
and the park across the street,
smaller than I remember,
sometimes I wonder
if I am still in a coma,
so tonight I propose to you,
I’ll tell you I want six or eight kids,
that we’ll have to move,
but you can keep the zebra.
 
We’ll see what happens,
oh, but I hope you say yes.
 
— David C. Kopaska-Merkel
 
 
David C. Kopaska-Merkel edited Star*line in the late ‘90s, and later served as SFPA President. His 29th book, a speculative-poetry collection entitled Metastable Systems, has been nominated for the Elgin award. Kopaska-Merkel edits and publishes Dreams and Nightmares, a genre poetry zine in its 32nd year of publication.
 
Editor’s Notes: About the poem, the author said, “How do you know this is reality? This poem doesn’t answer that question, but it takes a stab at it.” For the image, Demiart and a zebra are worked in together.