Thou Sayest

With winter came surprising deaths
and the predictable obituaries
of those closer to stone
than to breath.

The deepest snow does not ask the plow,
thou sayest.

Rope saved to hang himself,
a pack of leggy cards —
these secrets broke
from my neighbor’s chest of drawers
when he dropped
between a shovel and a pail of salt.

We watch them die until we die, thou sayest.

Parallel rows in the snow
from the unlifted feet of the old,
craters in the script of their signatures…

We only live so long with those we love,
thou sayest.

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts,
my mother chirps at the bars of a keet cage,
Roll-a, bowl-a, ball-a-penny-a-pitch,
my father replies from his spot in the shade.

A bleached nurse praises
their joyful way
of counting back from a hundred.

They’re yours until you think they’re mine,
thou sayest.

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