Because sometimes one can taste the salty certitude of ruin.
Because each footstep is a promise of loss.
Because the molehill dreams of the mountain and the quick,
chill shower of rain that arrives tonight to break the heat wave
is like a lazy lover who will do a poor job of loving
and leave before dawn with a cynical sneer, moving onward.
Because my landlady says she can tell I am dying by looking at my hands.
Because there is a dove at every corner disguised as a pigeon.
Because the document I read on the day of my uncle's funeral
read "bi-polar disorder," which did not surprise me; because I found
it somehow brave of him to ensconce himself in a bottle and to allow the vodka
and rum to eat his liver and mind and because I recalled the jaundiced hue of his skin.
Because the metaphors about dark clouds and deep valleys seem literal.
Because the medications do not work but I tell everyone that they do.
Because the image of a hole in the ground so perfectly cut, the mere size
of a small box only large enough for one young man's ashes, harasses me
as I walk from here to the mailbox, or as I spend the afternoon rearranging
the piles of notices and bills and essays and photographs on my kitchen table.
Because I envision all my belongings boxed and bagged to be sent away.
Because I haven't the fortitude to answer the phone or to shower.
Because a poem is no therapy, and to speak of the reasons is not
to negate them but to empower them, such that they become birds
one cannot shoo away, such that they nest in the corners of the bedroom
or above the refrigerator, or here, in my stomach, and at the back of my throat.