“Conception of Death”
I dust myself off like a cold geranium,
closed, shut-in red, and smelling
of stale bathwater
after the night set
and dawn rose up,
leaving our candles half erect
and my body floating inside a dream—
The same you promised I would lead
after a lifetime of service
to your wants, wishes, and potted plants.
I am so sorry I let the survivors drown
after I let the first arrivers starve.
I always overcompensate,
like flossing ten times
the day before I visit the dentist.
I do not deserve you,
but because you are the last hanger-oner,
I will permit you to watch me
until I am awake
in my life beyond this one.
I will have something to say to you, there—
but by then, the parts of me you’ve known
will be discarded, like so many dried up ferns
shaped inside an earth filled urn.
And now you understand why—
while I am alive to do so;
I dust myself off like a cold geranium.
Ashes and dirt;
Cigarette butts and rain water beside curbs.
It’s all the same.
Life occurs like elapsed time,
burnt into a video cassette.
A seed sprouts, pushes up—
begins to bloom
and is stepped upon.
Playback is impossible
after the machine is dead.
So tell as many ones you can
about the contents
before the last VHS unfurls
it’s long black maze
of your magnetic pulse.