Climbing the stairs, slowly, on my palms
and soles, bent far forward, I see
my shins closer than usual—
their indigo and red-violet fireworks,
their royal-blue wormholes—
how much difference is there, anymore,
between me and a cadaver?
I know I won’t come, after I’m dead,
though it does seem a little strange, to me,
and strange that what we learned in Seventh-Grade Health
is not a structural part of each of us like heartbeat and breath,
though sometimes people die of a heart attack in bed.
I think my mother’s father did, when he was with his mistress,
then they said to his wife he had fallen down the cellar
stairs that weren’t there. I told my son that—
in his late forties, when he said I never
told him anything about my family—
and he said, What did they do then, throw him down the cellar

Homepage image from "Door, Window, Table, Basket, Mirror, Rug," a portfolio by Richard Artschwager from issue no. 104