I’ve decided to die a little today, and maybe tomorrow I’ll do the same.

I’m going to turn my hands into powder. Spill them like salt on the forest floor. Spill them like new crystals in the water that takes and takes, and hunches away over the horizon. I’m going to saturate the juices that digest the land. I’m going to slow the sea’s appetite in my infinitesimal way.

Today, I’ve decided, I’m going to die a little.


It so happens that that woman, the one with the rough eyeballs and hag jowls, has ridden me like a broken horse to all the sepulchral dens of the bridge club . . . exactly as she said she would.

All the ladies laughing with their heavy loaves of breasts, their bodies sheathed in thick bear hair, thighs leaping like bear shadows through the firelight.

The waters come toward their door and then leave. And they leave me worthless.

As a result, I will turn my hands and fingers to powder.

Today, I will die, if only a little.


It so happens that the grotesque hand that lives in the pond over there has reached out to make love to my anklebone like a misguided house pet, exactly as it said it would the last time I passed it.

“I’ll turn my fingers and all ten fingernails to powder,” I said, but the hand from the pond only made moist slapping noises, slapping and sucking at my ankle with its syrupy palm.

The whole Worldbog started slapping and sucking like a wet orchestra warming up.

A little death, then, would not be a bad thing.


It so happens that the wooden underbelly of a little bridge has made its home above me, exactly as it swore it would, and it stretches on and on in mock of infinite things, stretching like a waking sleeper all day and night. And it feeds me a steady diet of gristly billy goats—pinching the fat on my cheek each morning, still not satisfied. Its footsteps bustling back and forth like a lone dumpling on a plate.

I’d threaten it with turning my knuckles and my fingerprints to powder, but I could just hear it saying, “When in Hawaii, one is inclined to eat more pineapples, no point in complaining.”

There goes the creekwater over my night bed, burbling and jabbering, pretending to be a big boiling stockpot as one might amuse a child by pretending to be a bumbling monster.

All I can do, today or any day, is simply die, a little, and then a little more.


Soon enough all I’ve swallowed will come up my throat like the body of a blue cat, skittery back arched in Halloween blue, a tatter of electric blue fur leaping about in a tease of current.

And I will drain out of the faucets of my wrists as sand drains (creepily) to the nether cup of the hourglass.

And I will fall into the land, which is always so inconsiderately pressed upon, but so accustomed, conditioned, and resigned.

I will fall exactly as it has always told me I would—into its soiled arms like some lonely sailor furloughed in a foreign land falls (out of need more than desire) into the grayed bed of an old whore who is no longer beautiful, who no longer promises any ecstasy, as he no longer believes in any.


I will call on her every day, slipping away from the memory of wife and kids, from the toe-tapping spouse of the long steel ship, from the lush floorless bisque of the oceans, sliding into her sheets, laying my head on her used bosom, looking for a way to love her, to be loved, to soften her with sweetness whispering,

“You’ve been at this too long, my dear. Come and sail away with me.”

She’ll rise and walk to a basin of wash water by her mirror. The water has forgotten all of its heat, but she dips her long hair into it anyway, a basketful of dried fronds spilling from the head’s roost. Leans back. The water drips over her eyebrows, down below her chin, down her shoulders, over the keel of her stomach, and down.

Yes, my love, she will always reply,
watching the reflections of the water trails fall,
yes, I’ll go with you, I’ll sail away with you.
We’ll sail away together.
We’ll sail away, far away from here,
far away forever, forever.


As a game, Water invented One, and She came and stowed her smoky body in the hold of her mattress, but One was not enough,

so Water made Two, and the hulk of the ship settled in the port like a beached whale and waited for the call, and waited, and the call didn’t come, but Water wasn’t satisfied,

so it made Three, and I came down on a hoist like a bundle of dry goods, to be the ace and count for either eleven or one.

And Water saw it was a good game and shuffled its deck of cards like fifty two foggy sunrises where the boardwalk paces in its planks, dealt itself a hand and won, and played again and won, and played and won and won.

[See Note On This Poem]


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