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Ground Time Will Be Brief, by DAS

Our Ground Time Will Be Brief

Pressure on figs makes them sweeter.

—Arabic saying

 

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;

maybe

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;

maybe

you’d stop saying there’s time enough

to travel to that distant island

with its Recovery sign twinkling;

or time

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?

What words

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.

Author: DAS

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