Our Ground Time Will Be Brief
Pressure on figs makes them sweeter.
If only your date of death were slipped
under your door—then maybe you’d jettison
your adolescent, super-human fictions, not film
your roof-launch onto piled mattresses;
you wouldn’t walk across the arc
of the bridge’s left girder on a dare,
sneakers snugged between round buttons
of oversized bolt heads, river and train streaming
beneath, your pals waving from the bank
like frightened windmills;
maybe, just maybe,
you’d stop telling yourself there’s time
for another shot, another black out drunk
where tales of that other self mount,
achieving cult status—
time for cigarettes
coughed up in the cemetery—Dog,
you’ll get over it, choke it down;
you’d stop saying there’s time enough
to travel to that distant island
with its Recovery sign twinkling;
to make love again and again to
a woman you don’t love.
If you held
death beside you every night
how would you live each day differently?
What carnival ride would you choose
as the hands near zero?
would you commit to? Poems that attack
cancer cells, as if the push
of pen could clear fields of them
blooming in someone’s lungs?
Would you drive
across seven states to tell your ex-lover: I slept
with someone too, shouldn’t have blamed you?
Would you sign intake forms with your real name?
Takethe train to Hoboken
and hold her hand
again? Here, this is that notice,
a Coming Soon sign
wrapped around a book of matches.
The rustled paper seems to whisper: Go on,
burn down the house, set fire
to all that doesn’t matter.
Here, this envelope
and note can kindle it, watch the blooming
take the wood.
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