These are not self-inflicted
wounds my pale

flesh endures
at this moment but,

rather, the insistent announcement
of a diagnosis:

the time has come. A nightingale
awakens me before dawn. On

the deck of the yurt
I watch a jackrabbit

zigzag across the
high desert towards the Jemez

hills at midday. I sip
black coffee, rubbing strong sage

between my fingers. The scent of it
in the windless air, dry,

ardiente. You are asleep
in our bedroom

with the sage paint
we chose together. I slide

closed the closet door, gently,
so as not to wake you,

slip into bed
to a slight stir, a tug of you. I always

knew it was coming but
never mentioned it.

“Please don’t go there,” you
would have said. So I

didn’t. Now it is here.
With sharp fingernails I scrape

at the eczema of memory. The tram approaches

the platform where I find myself
wearing a ball cap and jeans,

untucked flannel shirt, my Sauconys.
It is all so familiar. Overcast,

mild, a chance of rain. Some blue breaks
in the bluish clouds. Others

begin to assemble
around me, unhurried:

A couple of opioid addicts, some
poor kid in a wheelchair,

a few, like me, the
emasculated progeny of Don

and Betty Draper. I try to remember
what stop

I need to get off at
when I get on. But I can

only recall seeing one
stale crumb of popped corn

on the bathroom floor
this morning. And now

I am standing on
this platform. My neck

cracks. I tell myself:
You can do this.

The tram glides
to a stop.

We wait, motionless,
for the doors to open.

M F Drummy is the author of numerous academic articles and essays, and a monograph on religion and ecology (Being and Earth). His poetry has appeared in Mayfly, Frogpond, and The Mainichi. After 40 years of laboring away on a soul-crushing zombie hamster wheel, he and his wife currently split their time between the Colorado Rockies and the Ecuadorian Andes.

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