When we are broadsided,
by really the most dreadful news,
the moments that frighten breath
so it tangles itself among ribs,
don’t send me go out there,
red rain, rip tide!
Then we counter like storm dancers,
deep gasps to release a hijacked
diaphragm, push out the coward breath -
feckless guinea hen,
let it be a citizen of elsewhere.
And then allow no anxious intruders
to hunker down, to take premise
that suffering can homestead here –
no rank chatter to menace the bright pump-house,
to bang about tongue and bellows.
Such moments, married to eternity,
dance with glaciers, typhoons, black holes.
And death has never been a stranger,
maybe alchemist, liberator, owl.
Even so we live on, and again
like bristle cone and cedar.