Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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All the Grand Deaths

Death by sea, a translation
of water into cobbled stone,
the resigned masonry
fading. Death by lace
left so long by the window,
death by augury, death by 1983.

Death by snapping vine.
Death by mistake—by
virtue or grace. Death
by rosary. Death by
trembling design.

Scene: Driving
ME: Yes, I am.
Car stops.

ME: Dad.

Death by wellspring,
death by being
too much of anything.

Death by lesson, by reach. Death
by storm cloud, by loosening
wind on a shining beach.

Scene: On a dock by a lake
ME: Why?

under the dock
(by firefly light); teeth (death
by flickering) chatter loudly.

Death by tide, by dunes.
Death by doorway, by feigning. Death by
maze, by slapping water, by cocoon.

Scene: Outside a bar, a group of men.
Shoves ME, throws a punch.
ME: Throws him

down (death
by sanctuary), throws
the other against the wall—
(death by gavel, by cradle).

SECOND MAN: Cries out (death
by abbreviation),
ME against his ear:
Is this what you meant?

Death by turnbuckle, by bridge or sigh.
Death by the blank, wild
stare of a drug-blown eye.

Death by head over heels,
death by rolling
down steep hills.

Scene: Two queers

on a black-licked street, in and out
of pooling light

ONE: What the fuck
did you do that for?

ME shaking: Because
death by lamplight,
by omission).

Death by noon; by blubber;
by horseshoe toss. Death by morning,
by signal or by clover.

Scene: A sunlit room

His eye spreads over the page
like the last held note
of a hymn.

He folds his son’s letter
back into its creases.

Everything left this way,
as apogee, as hosanna.

Death by odyssey,
death by billowing.  

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