My children's love passes right through me
(like an arrow, like a bullet)
My parents' love steeps all through me
(like a tantrum, like a blush).
I fear death; there are deaths I fear more:
My deaf father sleeps deep
through knocking, my mother and sister
My tired children sleep past the blare
of smoke alarms, heavy
I wonder if I can shake them awake
like a pair of dead batteries.
But the world does its singing, then
my body curls like smoke
plummets, coaxes with folded hands
draws doors in heartache.
So let me tell you how I scan the dates
of people's lives, guessing--from
the headlines of their last year--if death
might have felt like a blessing.