We’re talking about when we met and you say
it was easier to fall for me thinking (I’ll remember
this pause) it was likely I’d be dead by now.
Talking. Falling. Thinking. Waiting … Have I
Undone what you’ve tried to do? You say no.
You say the surprise of still being is that something
is being built – the machine of our living, this saltwork of luck,
stylish, safe, comfortable and unintended.
Meanwhile, I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you, but
our lovely little dog has just killed a possum.
It seemed weird, a possum entering the argument here.
But there it was – an ugly dying possum playing dead
its dubious cunning brought to an end outside our door
by our brutal, beautiful and very pleased little dog.
So how do I say that this is not about death or sadness
or even whether you really first loved me
waiting, thinking I’d be dying young.
It’s just that standing there a few minutes ago
holding a dead possum by its repellent bony tail,
I was struck by how eerily pleased I was to be a spectator
to teeth, spit, agony and claw, feeling full of purpose,
thinking how different in our adversities we are from possums.
Our pain, the slow circulation of happiness, our salt and work –
the stubborn questions we endlessly give names to –
haunt us by choice. Play dead or play we’re alive.
Unlike the possum, it’s the fault of words.