Half-life

“…to tell someone that you lived,
and this is how it was.” ~ Sean Thomas Dougherty

If I count the time I’ve spent
living in this body minus the years
spent trying to summon the fragments
it left behind, I wind up with string
the color of smoke, a plume dark
as a dream of birds rowing the air,
silvering the night with their cries—
What kind of promise is it to say
everything’s made beautiful and sleek
by effort, though it never arrives?
My desire is also perpetually disheveled
by desire. Yet if I count the morsels
of bread and meat that touched my tongue,
they would only be proof of my shame—
Who can tell what the gods throw
in the water for sport, and how to fashion
a net to bring it back? How could I thrive
in this body while my other body, my heart,
rocked itself to sleep in a silent house?

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