He could have tripped on a single cleat
Left Cinderellean at the top of the stairs
The bones in the neck plunder and break under sudden stress.
Or he could have breathed in a poisonous dream
From the hookah pipe a roommate sucked
like a boob or a losing basketball team, a suffocation
in lavender elysium.
He could have slit his eyelids
to tatters passing through a window
Shattered because it refused to open.
He could have pooled in a lake on the brick
patio where mourning doves exalt the pretty flowers
He could have been burritoed by a sterile-fingered spider
And rolled onto an ambulance and taken away
To have his blood sucked, like
an unachieved caterpillar, like
He could have been jilted a million ways
from life: Bullets, earthquakes, neckties, knives,
fugu fish, a sacrifice to the ozone’s yawn,
a slippery poolside, an irukandji’s spear, a silence on his wall,
a shark risen velvet from a dream I didn’t mean
to destroy him; he preferred the word
shatter. Alternatively, he could be totally fine
Alive and well and eyes tripping over this poem
Breath intertwining in giggled knots, hysterical laughter
Like thunder, crutching my stupid fears
for his imagined delicacy,
doubled over in hilarity
until he drowns in the absurdity.
Image credits in order of appearance:
Figure 41from An. A. fol. 10? General Collections Keywords: da Vinci, Leonardo; McMurrich, James Playfair; anatomy in art; anatomy-history
By EL Caballero – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4604430