More Anecdotal Evidence
I keep bumping into stuff
with the giant question mark
floating over my head. What
do birds think of other birds' songs?
Is it too late for planet earth?
You'd better not go outside,
says my wife, you could get snagged
by a passing truck's rearview mirror
and drug to your death. Huh.
My closest experience with death,
other than looking at my father
turning into water who probably
couldn't see me either without
his glasses, was not remembering
my life-saving operation.
In fact, I don't remember two days
up to it so that's five days gone
counting post-op, five days
consumed by darkness. No firm
handshake from an admired also
dead writer, no certificate
or gateway of consoling light.
One of the occupational hazards
of writing poems is thinking about
death too much like you can't get
the red or yellow to stand out
without a thick black outline.
The first thing I do remember
is the breathing tube yanked
and my wife patting my hand, her
lower lip stuck out the way it does
when she cries. I felt like a newborn
giraffe that plummets six feet
to the ground from the birth canal.
Dean Young is the author of 12 books of poetry, including 2005's Elegy on Toy Piano, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent, Fall Higher, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2011.