Thursday, January 24, 2013

What No One Plans


What No One Plans
is to inhale for sixty years the fumes
of burning nightshade, then with lungs
stiff and pocked, between coughings-up
and sippings-in from a flammable tank
you have to wheel or carry, to continue
to light those leaves and try to breathe, 
to cast every hour or oftener from the bed
the plastic tube out to your only other room,
already fully sfumato, so you can have a “safe” smoke,
which the neighbors smell and try to evict
before it explodes, then afterward
to reel your line back, to reinsert
your cannula like jewelery, little reed-flute
only the dead can hear. 
No one plans to make their nurse,
paid a little by the state, love them
for selling their car to her for one dollar,
then hate you, to make everybody hate you,
for jerking your tubes out, dialing the police
when we weren’t looking to charge us
with leaving you, you swore, in your piss and shit.
No one is born planning to swear that no one comes.
No one is born planning to order everyone to stop coming. 
Therefore if there are creatures of fire and light
whose task it is when someone dies
to lift off the roof of the house, and carry
to judgement everything hidden,
the person that did these things
will be screened (may she be screened)
behind the heaven of what she did plan,
dancing as she does in a black-and-white,
snapped in Cuba, as far as I can tell, before the war,
furniture pushed back, dress caught, flagrante,                                                 in the act of swinging out to the tune,
the mighty tune of black moiré caught tight
at her tiny, not-bloated waist, rhinestones
at her throat, ear, and wrists, where no skin
is as though burned or scarred or torn,
in the arms of a handsome man
not my father, not knowing all of us
that she would come to know,
not yet driven mad by too much love
and nowhere near enough.

Patrick Donnelly 



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