The Wind

It to take; or was it to be unpacked?
Packed it might signify death. The wind
Death the wind calculating your lesson—
hast thou learned a thing? The name of
a thing. I am still defiant, of the presumption,
as articulated. I passed him
in his velveteen jacket worn elbows. The
enculturated elbows of Death need patches.
Do you want my job? he said, for you are brave.
And you are the one different one . . . How do
you know? In your sleep I approach you
and you breathe on me, as if I were an object,
observable malice. I mean, he said, when you
die, that’s when you can be me. Spy then thief
always the one left; but then there’s more.
I’m too wild, I say; I’m an American. Maybe
I’m leaving—for where? bankrupt in
June, lost identity, lost shortcomings.

From Certain Magical Acts, published on June 7, 2016 by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © by Alice Notley, 2016.