In the Year of the Earth Pig

          I vow to give thanks 
every morning I wake to find my eyes
          open and my arms and legs 
still function; to find I haven't 
          died and gone to heaven the night 
before— which, mind, I'm only using 
          in a sort of idiomatic sense. 
I mean, I'm not presuming to know 
          whether it's damnation or reward 
that awaits me in the afterlife, 
          or wherever that mud path leads 
after any of us exits the very last 
          door in this house of dusty labyrinths 
and grimy mirrors. I'll stop regretting 
          that I've bought more books than I'll 
probably have time to read in this life. 
          And, since everyone from Oprah to the LA 
Times to Bustle is listing their Most 
          Anticipated Books of the Year, accept 
the fact I'll probably order more 
          before the month is over. Every time
the midges of unhappiness and the ticks
          of despair bite on my hindquarters, 
I'll try not to blame the extra helpings of shrimp
          fried rice turning into hidden sugars in 
the blood. Moreover, I should try not to jump up 
          and be the first to answer every  
little call for help. Reading in Wikipedia 
          that occasionally, captive mother pigs 
may savage their own piglets if they become 
          severely stressed, I'll remember what my girl-
friend said when I waffled in front of a store 
          display for a whole hour: Just buy the damn 
shoes! Eat the shiny apple while it's crisp, sit on 
          the porch to drink a beer and read in the sunlight
instead of straightaway going to fetch the trowel,
          the vacuum, the cleaning rag, the mop.  

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