The duty of life

I have thought lately
that perhaps the duty of life
is to make each of us more familiar
with death.

Not just the image
of it, nor the concept, nor the loitering shadow
in the slick alleyway,
but the solid, sensual reality.

The smoke,
the metallic taste, the frosted heat,
the overwhelming fullness and the falling emptiness,
the smiling kiss, the wink and the graze
of rough tarmac on your knee.

The more I know life,
the more I am forced to acknowledge death.

I suppose, in this way, she is doing her job–
though I question her methods on evenings like these.
Her timing and her tact.

I don’t need the unbendable facts. I need a drink.

And a long, twilight sleep
that is not quite a sleep but rather
a slack cheek pressed against the floor,
too relaxed in each bone and minute muscle
to move.

Dreaming has done me little good over the years,
but it’s hard to give up being a romantic
in your heart.

Let’s just lie a while in the soft darkness
with the windows wide open.

Breathe through the rattle in our chests,
inhale the fine stardust on our skin,
and listen.

About Louise

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