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by Josh Mahler


after “When I used to focus on the worries, everybody” by Joanne Kyger

If you ask why I don’t fear death, a reason good enough for me
is waiting for the kinship of the sun, the light of late afternoon,

weakened after dangling in the heavens, spilling an undulating
glow thru the branches and fissures in the eaves onto the bluish

veins of my hands. I sit on my porch, sip cold water in Virginia—
all the memories that have left me fulfilled. It’s simple enough:

I’ve come to terms with the demands and luxuries of living
life without knowing. I might lick blood from my finger after a

deep cut and get excited with possibility. I believe in the taste.
I recall it, like when we had sex after the movie in my old Buick.

That was some night we had. You were nervous people would
walk by and see us, but they didn’t and we did it again, slow and

precise till dawn. Back then I worried over everything I was told
I should want. But now, the trees swaying in the breeze is good

enough for me — it feels like the weekend will be a warm one.
Back then I was taught some vague notion about embracing God,

the best part of dying. The truth? I never knew how insignificant
I was, the ways in which myths were used to make sense of what

we were afraid to lose. Today I wander thru archives of memory,
comfortable among the beautiful trees. Years from now, I hope

I remember them as they were. To be sure, I swear I’ll be careful
with my dreams — my time of worrying will be done. I’ll taste

blood with my eyes shut tight and let the fragments I’ve retained
cohere into something worth calling a miracle. I’ll trade light

for darkness to learn the magic between the spaces of subtlety—
and so it will end as I pass on into a room of my own choosing.

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