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Poetry from Adrian Louis



This is how a poem means, goddamnit. From Toe Good Poetry


In those years of your dying
I remember our little green
desk lamp, its chain broken
so it had to be turned off & on
by twisting the bulb in its socket.

Sometimes it went off by itself
& we’d be engulfed in the dark
poverty we were born into.
That was how I wanted it to be
when your breathing stopped.
Quick, painless, silent, poor.

That is how I wanted it to be.
I wanted to be unable see
your face & then I could lie
& tell myself I was too old to
be afraid of the dark, too old
to fear Satan’s python penis
splitting the atoms of our soul.

It’s been six years since you left.
I sit beside myself, brought here
to these Midlands of the mundane
by the shibboleth of the Chevrolet.
In the oncologist’s waiting room
there are little green desk lamps
just like the one we had, but these
do not flicker like my health &
the health of all in this room
seem to be doing this morning.
Across the room an old coot
with solid black eyes blinks at me.
Death smiles from the blackness.
Death is dancing in his skull.
Black bats flutter out from
his eyes & infect any hope
we might carry.


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