Rooster

Rooster

1.
early morning kettle does nothing to wake the rooster
black coffee will not keep the world at bay
the things one discovers at 4 a.m.
with nary a bird chirping
and no glint of light yet wrapping round horizons

you cannot beat autumn to the punch
she has you thick in her midst, in her mitts,
in the mist that hovers over still warm lakes at dawn
traces of summer stored like raw heat from the crumbles of relic flings
dug up like a dog’s long buried bone at the whiff of familiar perfume

night will move quickly to seize day
another pawn surrendered in the chain gang chess of time
there is no stay of execution-
dead man walking is a clarion call, a kindly favor
a mantra worthy of consideration, of obsession…

you will be told a million times to show, not tell
you will be lectured on the finer ways of craft
in the end you will die your death as many in a day
and put the kettle on a million more

2.
There will be time to bumble in the garden
pull a few weeds, lodge dirt under nails.
There will be simple assertions.
There will be moments of reflection in which
memory serves you more than the very breath you take in.

But you take it in anyway,
as if it mattered-
as if breath or memory or weeds or gardens
mattered.

You take it in like the mangy cat at your doorstep
whose own beaten will to live is exemplified in clumps of matted fur.

You take it in like the spitball half life of some goddamn equation
you learned in sleepy-time high school physics but don’t remember,
something about Oppenheimer and mushroom clouds and cockroaches.

You take it in like the entire bag of potato chips that devours you headfirst,
ravaging your diet, your determination, your own fucking name.

You take it in as if any of it mattered, as if it ALL mattered,
as if the earth itself hung precarious in the balance…

you will be told a million times to show, not tell
you will be lectured on the finer ways of craft
in the end you will die your death as many in a day
and put the kettle on a million more

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