As Infections Become Ghostly Rehearsals
A coward dies a thousand deaths,
the brave but once —Earnest Hemingway
2002, it was a rare suffocating Ludwig’s
Angina left me near death on a table
& then to hover above a surgeon’s fangs.
Maybe vampires and afterlives are real—
wait, let me tell you only what I know:
blood splatter & a breath snapped me
back, into a deflated body, to suck in
air through a tube in a hole in my throat.
This coward died his thousand times
in only ten days—please tell me how
the brave manage to die only once
at a Jamaica Queens Hospital for marginals.
2022, I thought about dying in a hospital
from a Covid that invaded my old lungs
& left me stuck in bed for a month.
I missed howling at January’s full moon
with a pack of grey wolves of my dreams
& had to accept another ghostly rehearsal—
prompting not to expect a dead father,
or live son, passed mother, or live daughter
to catch my last words & redemption.