Flying the Coop


When death approaches
the faint hum
of the body disappears,
the way the fan in the freezer space
cuts out as you reach for the ice-tray
quietly but unambiguously
the suddenness of inaction
implacable absence,
the leave taking
that doesn’t take long
the walking off
without drawn-out explanations.

When death approached me
I felt levitated with fever.
I was in an oil-filled capsule,
my snug hospital bed.
I did not tell anyone I was dying
or not for a while.
I let myself die a bit.
I sank down.
I was never so relaxed
comatose as a scarab grub
in the ruby glow of dirt-underground.

It was as if the ultimate fusion
had occurred on my father’s lap,
my armpit to his chest
my cheek to the curve of his neck.
Death cuddled me, detached
and read a book
smelling of cigarettes and whisky.

Death was bottomless
as the black basalt swimming hole
above Nerang
but without the fear of cold.
It was warm as a rock pool
late afternoon on Snapper Rocks.

Death shaped me like an ear,
curled up, cleaned out as a dried apricot
waiting for the tongue
of something like a mouth
someone like a god.

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