The Last Drop

Even your blood tries to leave you.
Whether reddening the heel of a sock
or that pinprick of a little red dot
or pouring out wholesale
staining whatever it touches.

A fine line of skin and fat-wrapped veins
hold back the plaque banks
of the river running through us.
Peeking through our cuts
raining purple where it should be clean water.

But this blood is brackish,
thick and salted.
Let it go when it wants to go.
Because try as you may,
you’ll die before you stop it.

There will always be another mountain.

Ever been tempted to speak out loud a phrase like,
I don’t know how much more I can take before I break?
When in truth, it is just getting started.

This unforgiving,
promising place.

The here, and where when and how we found it now.
The sound and feeling of the breeze that makes an unbearable day better,
pushing, just like us, being pushed by changes in changing weather.

And whether or not you think you can,
there will always be another mountain.

And even if you decide to sit, quit, and die,
there is a mountain waiting in death too.
And this climb comes to you.

Besides,
by the time such a phrase has been spoken,
it does not matter how much you take before you break.
You are already broken.

No Free Dinner for the Wise

You come to terms with dying because you intend to live.
It doesn’t mean you won’t fight to keep alive,
it just recognizes the reality that there will come a circumstance when you don’t.
Enlightenment is like that moment during an amazing dinner,
something you didn’t plan on, a meal set out most likely by a stranger,
when you feel called to ask how you can pay for it.
The moment you create a bill for yourself,
even though none was ever handed to you.
Foolish to everyone except the wise. The enlightened.
Who came to terms with dying.
Just to get on with life.

That good cholesterol

I have a soft yellow heart like a hard-boiled egg.
I have arrived at terms with death. It is only pain
still testing the cracks in my shell,
finding me in the safe places I dwell,
and itching me there. Tangling my hair,
stubbing stumpy toes and talking with a tone
I would not hand out to a child. All the while
the wild laughs at my labor, which was not an intentional joke.
Life’s rapid, aggressive, responsive regrowth,
strikes me more like revenge. Not passionate,
desperate, hurt and hurtful, blood for hungry vengeance,
but a more quiet, natural, insinuated, obligatory sort.
The sort a parent strikes out on their progeny in old age.
Cage for cage. Trapped in prisons built like guilt, and responsibility.
There is no joy in plants to witness the worker pant,
tear flesh encircling wrists, planting the seed of that awful itch,
right through calcium walls, the smooth soft almost not
quite off white jiggly unbroken membrane,
into my fertile, flakey, as close to orange as a color can go
and still remain yellow, heart.
Like the buried center of a hard-boiled egg.
Art has led me to establish acceptable terms with death.
But pain. Slipping fingernails beneath broken skin
peeling me hungrily to pieces. I’m still working
on a rapport with pain. With a sensitive blood-mover
like mine, I am sure to suffer in life. Just not in vain.