Variation 17: Like Waking

Will death be like this?
Like waking from a long dream
still held—grounded—
in the body disremembered? Spinning

ceiling, close call? Foolish beating
heart? Those trembling

aftershocks of some electric message
where bone met motion,

clamoring in ligaments,
that lingering tremolo singing in the ears

like doubt, maybe
the echo of some unrecognized

once-familiar name. Estranged touch
of wind over skin,

on damp arms the hair
not yet laid down . . .

Breath's sour fluctuations
not quite tamed. Cheeks' flush

loosening, a displaced temperature
sensed, unseasonal. Flash of light

burning against walls, image after image,
an eye, a frame, missing there.
Where, searching, searchless, you can't point to
or put a finger on, nevertheless an urge
surging in raised fingers. A circle
discontinuous, once rounded out by mouth.

Throbbing inside the brow,
no accessible thought. Specifically
no memory arising from
follicles still tingling, the dulling skull heedless,
singed with salty pores.
What if it's like this, only without the body?


Alice B Fogel, "Variation 17: Like Waking" from Interval. Copyright © 2015 by Alice B Fogel. Reprinted by permission of Alice B Fogel.
Source: Interval (Schaffner Press, 2015)
More Poems by Alice B. Fogel