Poem. Sean Thomas Dougherty. I Am A Forty.

I Am A Forty

I had a sleep-over with the tide. I wrote your name in shells. I told the low tide I was high. I spied an osprey. I once witnessed a kestrel swoop over road kill and kreeee. Sometimes I stop my life to spell AIDS on a coupon to remind myself of Terry or David or my other dead. I knew a nun named Diane who worked hospice until the lost ones changed her. I am a blotter of windowpane, you are my black bread and butter, blue stoop, blowtorch, barefoot peregrine poor rocking on porches in the projects. I am the projects outside in the rain.

Once on East Buffalo Road I stopped and sat cross legged on the curb for no reason. I want shoes without sleep, to run tracks (laps) in your thoughts, the endless freight trains that run through 6th street, as if no day ever ends. How different are jail and communion, like Tory Dent or Tim Duglos who even pencil thin wrote their lives on the walls of the world, eight hour shifts I walked through fields of suicides nameless in a coat made of hungry children, I cannot stand watching animals die, or ponder twelve hour shifts like when the nurses came how many times to change the IV, to die because the doctors failed or didn’t care because we are broke.

At night now I play at the pool hall long after closing we keep the lights burning like the cell of a prison or a hospital room. What bars are we kept by? What disease are we trying to cure? What shame? I shoot silently with James, who spent years trying to get clean. Our tangled labor, our lonely mangled acres we can hardly mow.

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