Yes, No, Maybe

How much truth in a joke, in any making-
light-of? The day before the midterms

we laughed and said heck why not eat
the chocolate, buy the expensive coat,

let the cutie kiss you. Maybe we’ll all
be dead after tomorrow. Or want to die.

If not this apocalypse, the one that’s sure
to come after. Only a matter of time. Fire

raging through the hills one day, a spray
of ammunition aimed at any gathering of soft

bodies. One of my students says she takes
dictation from angels: they watch her,

tell her what she should or shouldn’t
do (like, yes go to this party, not

to that one). I wonder what they look like—
I’d be disconcerted hearing only voices,

trying to sift them from my own, looping
through my brain especially at two

in the morning. I’d want to know what
the future holds even if I already know.

I’d ask for a few detail changes, better
scenery. In the yard I squint upward

through the branches of the tree— finally
it’s acknowledged the season is turning,

is letting handful after handful of leaves
furl to the ground. Letting anything go

is possible only with the acknowledgment
nothing’s truly lost: the way you hold

your breath then exhale, if only to see what
shape it makes in the cold air, leaving you.

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