What will you endure, each moment, each morning when
the burden begins again? (Repetition may be the suffering.)
What will you endure, your bond to humanity?
How will you dull the torment, your preferred intoxication?
What will you endure, a ravenous mass, its X-ray proof,
radiation, chemo, the pity, the decay, the ponderous decay?
How far will you journey from home, identity, routine,
a past beneath bombs, bullets, gas, everywhere, sharp knives?
Or will you simply succumb to the vast, solitary spaces,
my brother, my sister, the ache, the mute, oozing irrelevance?
I will greet you with pleasantries, in the hall, on the street,
anywhere, my confidant, with you, masking our devotion to grief.
It is understood, the taboo. We shall not speak of it.
(So few are inclined to listen.) We shall abide, shifting
awkwardly, foot to foot, the contrapposto of statues,
avert our eyes, plunge obliviously into embarrassed silence.
But we know, we see our plastic smiles. I wonder, will we
announce our anguish, will we relinquish our screams?