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the body dissected, the cancer laid bare (early)To John Sweet's previous piece     bloodbath smileTo John Sweet's next piece

i am hoping to find myself numbered among the living

all of these people
who are not dead but who are
only dead to me

all of these faded houses casting
shadows as heavy as fear

i can stand inside
any of them and accept the fact
that i will never be
the man my wife deserves

i can scream myself blind
beneath the pure blue sky
and still the children
will be slaughtered

and will i write a sonnet
for each of them?

i can try
and then call my failures

i can take my inspiration from
the last barren years
of dali's life
when everything was only
what it appeared to be

and it's february
and then it's march and
then it's april

the sunlight blinding but
without heat and
the trees rising up out of
their own reflections and the
fact that nothing any of us will
ever say can be more
valuable than silence

and into
this sudden knowledge
arrives the first calla lily of
the season

the last letter from a friend
who has
traded in poetry for survival

who feels sorry for
the rest of us and who
asks me to please not
write back

and i've been sitting at
this desk for an hour now
trying to decide which
one of us
is drowning and why

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