Monday, April 18, 2016

Poem: Live, Die

LIVE, DIE: A GHAZAL

The door of the hospice room in which you die
stays open. Dreaming, you drift there, dying

in that floating bed of fierce arguments that live
on, until the moment when you no longer live.

Cheered on by a chorus of voices as you die,
“Go now! Go to the light!” Still, Don’t die!

Cries a dissenting voice within: a flickering live
Wire behind the nightlight’s angel face. Live

News at 7 AM, after the great orange moon dies.
Sunlight fingers a blue bowl of shaved ice. Die?

No. Not now. A tiny version of you pops out alive
From a burning wood, swims upstream, panting. Live

as Nurse Good’s softshoe entrance to applause, dying.
She smiles, squints at her syringe, held up, lit, like dye

bubbles lengthening in a radiant corridor: see lives
unborn (half-souls blindly pushing toward life)

gather outside time, inside your mind. Move! Die!
they cry. You won’t acquiesce. Mother, I cannot die

For you, I don’t know how. You brought me here alive.
You taught me everything but how to let you die.

— CAROL MUSKE-DUKES

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