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Cusped Prognosis

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Time declines all, they say. Progression inevitable, they say. Hills that rise slant down. You have the floor, they say. How far down, 
I say. They say how low can you go. How steep a slope, I say. Slight drop, they say. Plateau. Slump, not flatline, they say. You understand, these were words before: up, down, I say, words I do not own but feel I should. Downward, they say, is normal, but plateau is where we’ll put you. Stay flexible. Incline toward this wind. Go ahead and zanaflex, they say. Progress, the way of the future, they say. We are 
inclined to say it’s relatively stable. Mesa, not mountain, they say. The fall-­off hills rise in masses, flat on top. White clouds bite down on them like teeth, I recall, chomping. What’s the grade of incline, I say. They say mild decline. They say they feel inclined to know. Come down here, I say. Take a tumble. Slide. Incline your ear. They decline my invitation. Making progress, they say. An upgrade. Very busy. Your health has reached its quota and is no longer available, they say. Have I been downgraded, essentially going downhill, I say. A positive result yields a negative outcome, they say. They decline to know for sure. Testing negative, they say, has a positive outcome. A decline in contrast sensitivity, I say. They say slow descent, the good kind. A little tip. Lucky dip. I assent and say all’s downhill from here. I say downhill into the flood. Dive, I say, not cannonball. Controlled fall. I am inclined to take a dip, I say, from time to time, but always rise to the surface. Dip down, they say. Tip forward. Don’t let us (drop now) push you, they say, a nudge. I say it is our policy to decline tips, a pleasure to — Arching off the incline, I incline to a different wind.
Source: Poetry (October 2016)
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Cusped Prognosis

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