Death

I dropped my best friend off at the bus station this morning.

Only one of us cried.

And walking back I had the strangest sense that I was going to die.

And I was at peace with it.

I felt sure that any one of the people around me would be my demise- that man in the blue suit with the white roll of blueprints in his hand- maybe there was a gun in there, maybe he was on his way to snap.

He’d make the news for shooting up his corporate office, but first I’d get in the way. And I was okay with that.

That stranger in the hoodie with the slow, slow gait walking ahead of me might pull out a knife.

And I was okay with it.

Any one of these cars, with the windows rolled down…

The man shaking the coins in his cup.

The people who always push and argue in front of the smoke shop, right on the way back home.

I was okay with it, I was okay with it, why was I okay with it?

But as the light grew brighter my fear got more intense, like smoke on its gray sky, more opaque.

I climbed the stairs and then took the elevator, into a world just waking up, and looked right down the hall like I always do, though I live on the left.

My boyfriend’s room is there, to the right.

My friends’ rooms are scattered across this floor, and the lingering sense of death clung to my shuffling feet as I passed their doors and thought about a fire, like the one we all playacted at not too long ago, the one that had almost happened just one floor up, a blaze that would creep quietly- no- flare up instantly- to engulf me and the people I love.

I wasn’t okay with it, anymore.

Well, maybe just a little.

But the weird thing about it is that I’m not suicidal. Never have been.

I guess it’s easier to will the universe to kill you than accept that you want to do it yourself.

I guess it’s simpler to feel like you’re going to die

Than to feel just about anything else.

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City (awake)

My city never sleeps.

It’s up all night.

Just like three college students drunk on being tired

who perused 7/11 like a Thanksgiving feast

spread out on a maplewood table.

It’s South Street diner where the Cuban sandwich

will melt in your mouth

at 3:00 AM.

With the packed-full booths and the shouting cooks,

scrape of the spatula on a sizzling stove,

and all the hungry human din

of the people

who just couldn’t fall asleep:

Not yet-

Who just couldn’t sacrifice this day for darkness,

Not yet-

Who needed one more kiss and one more bite

to fill their stomachs.

It’s the bright cavernous maze of the MFA,

Corridors of secret spaces to touch each other’s waists

That sweet fugitive feeling of being

where you don’t belong:

But the museum never seems to shut down.

My city is a sprawling lawn

With feet twisted together

Watching a movie framed by a warm carousel

and a cool mathematical skyline-

each pricked by bits of light and bleeding constellations.

It’s a sprawling archipelago of theaters;

a chain of culture hopped like squares on a sidewalk

Skipping stones that hit art no matter where you throw them.

My city is a highrise apartment

And the set of keys in my palm with seashell ridges

The lock that I expertly twist and kick or nudge with my hip,

The room where I sit and feel awake.

When it’s dark, when I’m tired

When the world is a rush like the street and the sirens

When my brain is soft and clouded

Still,

In this city,

I feel awake.