You should not feel so fragile, so fated
to be dashed to dust by a strong sneeze.
But, you do: all day long you wait
to fall beside the toilet, or trip on a rug.
To know that inside your body
something has shattered. You're a fool,
you say. Once, your father wept
over a stray cat that had bounded
into the road and under his wheels.
You found him hosing his car,
blood and shit still clinging to its underside.
Go inside, he said. Just go.
A small part of you broke, then.
You tell yourself that. You blame so much
on that sad moment
you have to admit, you have to laugh,
it is absurd. In your hand,
door knobs turn like uncertain declaration.
You are going. You are returning.
You found this thing. You lost another.
You have decided. Summer in the Azores.
Winter in a little German burg,
though there is only old menace
waiting for you. You know the time will come
when you will be unable
to flee. When your blood
will be worthless. You know
you have already been soundly defeated
at chess, in tennis, in the dojo of an inscrutable master.
You smile. Your teeth ache.
You wonder why.