These days sunlight is an ally,
I think of what I forget: the clouds
of smoke amid city buildings.
The dust lifted into the air.
And the voice of that toddler
with no last words, though you know
she was about to say something
that meant “Please.” What does death do
to our sunny days but make them feel
as if there’s more aliveness to go around?
All I know is when I die,
I want it to rain. I want friends
on my Facebook saying “I love you.”
Even the ones I didn’t love.
I want them to say that my last poem
was sadder than my death;
and I want the music of a thunderstorm
conducted by the Lord himself.
But I know I am just a descendant
of boatmen, whose great uncle
could have died of a toe infection.
Meaning: I’m not getting any of this.
I don’t know if there’s advice left for me,
but at least I’m done sitting
in the negotiating room with Death.
He’s given me X days and the promise
of a new name. All I wonder now is:
Is breathing bad for you?
Do sighs kill? Is laughter
an acceleration of life
or a prolonging? I learned a lesson
when my friend got shot.
It was with the first girl I kissed
after getting the phone call.
I knew I deserved it. Not the death.
The kiss. Live long enough
and you know that sad can’t be
the opposite of happy. It’s about
getting them in the same room
and making sense of the sentences
that don’t go together:
It is sunny outside; and a sailor
prays he can make it to coast.
Some gulls terrorize the harbor;
and most terrorists enjoy good vodka.
The smoke exits the factory
chimney; and a child is licking
ice cream in cold weather.
And then they blindside you.
The truly difficult.
Thomas is dead and I am in love
and no one in this earth is tallying
the days left; no one composing
the song they will remember us by;
the poem that can tell you
everything is as it should be:
There is no great migration
of birds. It is doomsday
only for a few thousand of us.
And we cannot yet count
the people rowing boats in a lake
with their children,
laughing this very moment.