If these are the last days

perhaps we should not spend them
rubbing our hands with squares
of disinfectant cloth. Perhaps
we should wave at every plane
passing overhead the way we did
when we were children kicking up
pebbles with each pass on the swing.
When was the last time we grew giddy
on a roundabout? Yesterday the doctor
listened through her stethoscope,
attached a sensor to a fingertip then
applauded the clear meter of your pulse.
Last week, I watched as the lab technician
drew the brilliant crimson of my blood
into a series of glass ampules. The sun
might have struck them if the room
had a window. Let us not spend
these remaining days being experimental
and eating nothing; or being rhetorical
and debating the value of poetry vs.
bread. The unswept room in the middle
is always overlooked. The animal’s
severed head is taken and hung
in a tree, and its fleshy hindquarters
roasted on the fire. But do you know
the book of the heart and the liver,
and the epistle of the cloudy spleen?
Slender white birds rummage through
the water at low tide. I want to say
sometimes, Enough nostalgia! Enough
fatalism for the tribe! But lists,
understand, are important. And names.
Names of the dead, names of the living,
every last creature that will not be
tamed and hides in the wood. Every weed
that sticks like a stubborn conviction
to the undersides of our feet.

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