How did you die 

by Erin Kirsh

by accident, the first time
by design the next.
disease had its turn, and famine often.
they took my home
then the elements took me.
there was the time i was dragged
through town tied to a panicked
horse my last act to paint the dust
with blood and brain, memories spilled
like saloon whisky. there was the war, the bear
the hired hit, and the vehicle. the false start
where i never made it out
of the womb, nurtured
to death. twice i gave
up, once rightly, once not.
guns of various models
men of many stripes, the boat
carrying me to a new life
to safety met with a torpedo
with an iceberg with a captain
whose love for opium was greater
than his love of the job, a bomb
and a current rushing joyful
toward the sea. a cavity a scarcity
a revolution a mosquito a bee
and a swelling in my throat
a sandwich and a swelling
in my throat, old age a sweet
handful of times, though the age
kept aging through the ages, once
it was the 74th year that did the trick
that ferried me through the door
down the hall and into the next
foyer, what will kill me
in the end i think is when i’ve
collected time in every atrium, until
the bowl of my hands can’t hold
more air.
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