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My Demise

after a career of running guns
in North Africa, Rimbaud succumbed
                        to either syphilis
or carcinoma (depends on who you've read)
in Marseille in the care of his sister,
            much as he had written.

he was thirty-seven–
same age as Mozart.

Zen Masters, it is said,
recite a poem at the exact
moment of their death,
often ending with
the exclamation "Ha!"–
                they die...

Letter to Afghanistan

Because the pitch pines have been frozen
all season, they clatter in the dunes,
snap down to the blood sap,
slender and rigid as boys at attention.
In the frigid sand, to move is to break.
Each overlapping wave a shard,
here, tectonic plates of ice crowd the shore.

Yours is a burning earth.
Wind-ground sand, fine as talc,
claims the air, no tolerance
for emptiness. The space in your sleep
where we belong, where our daughter belongs,
is sealed up tight and safe—
too safe to be of any comfort.
We are none of us free from harm...


Whenever I drive by that old, abandoned farmhouse
with the orange daylilies blooming
against the white-chipped siding,
I always wish for planter’s hands--
for a green thumb that could
summon life from the ground
that could revive the apparently dead
with its electrifying touch...


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