“It is in the power of every hand to destroy us, and we are beholden unto everyone we meet, he doth not kill us.” —Sir Thomas Browne
We’re down here in the basement
dodging bombs. As our loves
freckle with age we must adore
them more ferociously. Come winter
you kick back and ready your weapons
for spring. My next task was to get well.
Five million years ago, there were different
terrors. Saber toothed fears. Edgar Allen Poe
was terrified of being buried alive. Fear
is a civilising influence. It keeps us in line.
Fear of bacteria. Of our own murderous
kind. Of aliens superior to us in every
way who’ll arrive any moment
and sensibly decide to clean house.
A terrible cry arises from the thick
of things. My begging bowl
runneth over. Heaven has been
relocated and we’re not telling you
where. Not even a hint. I don’t love
you anymore. What might it mean
to die a worthy death
and how much should one brood
about that ahead of time?
I was just trying to get back
to the boat alive. Let us lurch forward
or hellward. What an adorable form
of anarchy when the body outwits us.
I am a heretic in their eyes, so they
will kill us both and murder your children
if they find our hiding place. Despite
everything, I awoke full of praise
for you, as I do each morning.
Coughing constantly, I rinsed
my hands and ate some seeded crackers.
I thought about your face and prayed.