For Claudia, Against Narrowness


Narrowing life because of the fears,
narrowing it between the dust motes,
narrowing the pink baby
between the green-limbed monsters,
& drooling idiots,
& ghosts of Thalidomide infants,
narrowing hope,
always narrowing hope.

Mother sits on one shoulder hissing:
Life is dangerous.
Father sits on the other sighing:
Lucky you.
Grandmother, grandfather, big sister:
You’ll die if you leave us,
you’ll die if you ever leave us.

Sweetheart, baby sister,
you’ll die anyway
& so will I.
Even if you walk the wide greensward,
even if you
& your beautiful big belly
embrace the world of men & trees,
even if you moan with pleasure,
& smoke sweet grass
& feast on strawberries in bed,
you’ll die anyway-
wide or narrow,
you’re going to die.

As long as you’re at it,
die wide.
Follow your belly to the green pasture.
Lie down in the sun’s dapple.
Life is not as dangerous
as mother said.
It is more dangerous,
more wide.



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