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The Kingdom of Things

ISSUE:  Summer 1997

When the heart valve buckles
or the brain vessel ruptures and I,
at last accomplished, stumble sloshed
in blood over the edge of the earth
into the faulty recall of a few people,
don’t weep for me.

Where I’m going there’s no warranty;
no estimates, parts, labor; no car
in the shop, stove on the fritz, fridge
on the blink; no days waiting for
angels to flap out and chant the good news
I need a new furnace.

In paradise they had to prune and lop
the overgrowing brush and branches,
which doesn’t sound like paradise to me
as much as a land that’s honeysuckle-free
where houses stay painted, shingles uncurled,
dirt roads graded and graveled;

but thanks to paradise the only things
that need no maintenance have passed
away into perfection, which means to wish
to do no maintenance is to wish to pass away
from my dilapidated castle, from her
I wrestled through delivery

of him we brought home years ago
today, and from the mess they’ve made
of my resolve to fall for nothing
and no one
about to break, breaking, or broken.


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