I am perfectly fine here: ice-choked,
thin as an eyelash. The bootprints on
my headboard are getting darker.
The chimney: clogged with fish eyes
and sea glass. Somewhere my enemies
are singing to the food on their plates.
As a boy watching movies with my father,
I’ d sit near his couch so he could whirl
his fingers through my hair. My scalp beamed.
My whole life was unlived and predictable.
Now knotted in these sheets, I feel like a snake
in a burlap sack. I’ve spilled wine everywhere
and the ants are coming. If you could count
my bones, you’ d find I have fewer today
than I did a week ago. They’re cobbling
themselves together into a maze. At its
center: a monster, needful
and hunted. Built wrong. Instead
of eyes: sockets of black sand.
The monster will be difficult to find,
but once discovered he will be so easy
to kill. When touched, he explodes
into topsoil. My skeleton knows this,
is already hardening around him
like a marble tomb. It’s scary
to think your bones might outlive you,
might wash up on some gritty shore
and become soup bowls or hairpins.
To be useful while prophets decompose
in the ground seems nearly profane.
Here, things are beginning
to peel apart: my skin, the ceiling paint,
even the fruit in the fridge. I know
this can all be fixed. I’ve seen it: blood
pumping back into a vein, a cracked
ancient fresco colored back into life.
There are so many ways to intervene
against dying. The meat I eat turns back
into living meat. Still, unmoving
in this bed, I’ve been struggling to produce
a single miracle. Long ago, standing in a patch
of milkweed, I dipped my hand into the pond
and pulled up a fistful of tadpoles.
Most dripped back into the water
but one stayed in my palm, drying
into almost-paper. If it had asked me
to let it live I would have, my spirit
flea-weak and cloddish. Now as then
the question is obvious: how do we want
to be forgotten? I know my answer—