I choke down a hundred placebos,
Row by row they weekly go,
The sugar sweet pseudo-psychosis . . .
O Novacaine! plodding mindlessly along
The narrow straits of my nerves
Like the invading Messiah.
O the hundred reminders of death!
O the hundred strangers
And the beauty that lurks in their bodies,
Waiting to work its treachery!
A hundred incisions and intrusions;
A hundred plans and changes;
A hundred contortions and confusions;
My dream rearranges;
I stomp the world piecewise into boxes
So I can get to sleep at night.
In the spirit! Out the spirit!
Count aloud your worldly visit.
Whisper by the hundreds
In cold winds through the rafters. . .
What are you that comes back to me always
In my moments of hesitation and numbness?
That whittles a hundred indecisions
Down to the fine point of an awl
Against my heart’s thick hide?
What are you that twists headlong into my ear
And wears these solemn clothes?