we're all going to be okay

Survival poem #17 by Marty McConnell


because this is what you do. get up.

blame the liquor for the heaviness. call in late

to work. go to the couch because the bed

is too empty. watch people scream about love

on Jerry Springer. count the ways

it could be worse. it could be last week

when the missing got so big

you wrote him a letter

and sent it. it could be yesterday, no work

to go to, whole day looming.

it could be last month

or the month before, when you still

thought maybe. still carried plans

around with you like talismans.

you could have kissed him last night.

could have gone home with him, given in,

cried after, softly, face to the wall, his heavy arm

around you, hand on your stomach, rubbing.

shower. remember your body. water

hotter than you can stand. sit

on the shower floor. the word

devastated ringing the tub. buildings

collapsed into themselves. ribs

caving toward the spine. recite

the strongest poem you know. a spell

against the lonely that gets you

in crowds and on three hours’ sleep.

wonder where the gods are now.

get up. because death is not

an alternative. because this is what you do.

air like soup, move. door, hallway, room.

pants, socks, shoes. sweater. coat. cold.

wish you were a bird. remember you

are not you, now. you are you

a year from now. how does that

woman walk? she is not sick or sad.

doesn’t even remember today.

has been to Europe. what song

is she humming? now. right now.

that’s it.


Marty McConell’s website: http://www.martyoutloud.com/

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