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When you die, I will still live
here in this house that is not really

a house it’s an apartment with no stairs
to the bedrooms, with no garage only

lint and spare change below the couch’s
belt. When you die, she says, I will wear a belt.

See these unused loops at my waistline? These
tunnels? I will thread them. When you die,

I will expand to fill the spaces. And I will
have a child, a girl, like myself, with hands

like these. Did you always want a girl
with hands like these? When you die, I will reach

the highest shelves, my fingers, tough
and nimble as giraffe tongues. I will be

so grown up. I will eat like this. Sleep
when I want. The city

will be mine. See those trees outside my window? See
that store on the corner, a frosted cake

filled with cream? See how the road,
slick with rain, becomes a path of light?

When you die,
I will brush my teeth like this, my teeth

new and large as temples
around the flower market of my tongue.


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to slow pockets
in the work day
blinds drawn
like sheets
over the still
body of the river

to crossed legs
which feign to sleep

to time
spent surfing the web
for new couches
velvet green with single
rectangular mattress-like
cushions to receive
the exhausted bodies
of my friends
Sarah Kevin Xela John
to sleep upon if not
like kings then like men
who feel like kings

to the blood
of my loved ones
stored in the tender vaults
of their bodies

no one
in New York
has died

I know

it’s slow here
at the transplant office
you have not yet drunk
the last sip
from that paper cup of air
not in the ER or ICU
or in Comfort Care
where they no longer come
to take blood cultures
or to test for infection
but deliver instead more pillows
and dope patients
into a cozy haze

sweet stranger
gazing for the last time
at your grown son

I will be right here
browsing for couches
I will drink the cold dregs
of my coffee
I will lean back
nearly tipping in my chair

to stretch my boredom
and spread to your hospital room
the strange magic
by which the secondhand
of the office clock bobs
like the head of a young boy
nodding off beside his mother
on an early train

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