This is what our dying looks like. You believe in the sun. I believe I can’t love you. Always be closing, Said our favorite professor before He let the gun go off in his mouth. I turned 29 the way any man turns In his sleep, unaware of the earth Moving beneath him, its plates in Their places, a dated disagreement. Let’s fight it out, baby. You have Only so long left—a man turning In his sleep—so I take a picture. I won’t look at it, of course. It’s His bad side, his Mr. Hyde, the hole In a husband’s head, the O Of his wife’s mouth. Every night, I take a pill. Miss one, and I’m gone. Miss two, and we’re through. Hotels Bore me, unless I get a mountain view, A room in which my cell won’t work, And there’s nothing to do but see The sun go down into the ground That cradles us as any coffin can.
I spent what light Saturday sent sweating And learned to cuss cutting grass for women Kind enough to say they couldn’t tell the damned Difference between their mowed lawns And their vacuumed carpets just before Handing over a five-dollar bill rolled tighter Than a joint and asking me in to change A few light bulbs. I called those women old Because they wouldn’t move out of a chair Without my help or walk without a hand At the base of their backs. I called them Old, and they must have been; they’re all dead Now, dead and in the earth I once tended. The loneliest people have the earth to love And not one friend their own age—only Mothers to baby them and big sisters to boss Them around, women they want to please And pray for the chance to say please to. I don’t do that kind of work anymore. My job Is to look at the childhood I hated and say I once had something to do with my hands.