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He studies the dinner card,
ticks off the boxes for Jell-O
and fruit cups; anticipates a deliciousness
that he will later swallow mechanically
on a plastic spoon.

He’s fascinated by his own breath;
tasting it on the exhalation, savoring a coolness,
as lungs struggle to filter
the chemical soup of the ward.
He imagines sipping an effervescent sky,
pouring it through a revitalized body - shivers,
as fingertips recall tactile experiences.
He turns on his side, curls up into himself.
The skin of his curved spine delicately corrugated.

A nurse checks his chart, adds a note.
She does not record
the swaddling pall covering his flesh
within which his wife, dog, even a 1958 Plymouth
coddles him in a chrome enclosure for memories.

At night, he enters a potting shed;
a place evolved from sweet tobacco, string
and dark red begonias.
From a gun-metal tin,
he takes a small Swiss Army knife,
scrapes a yellow clay from under his fingernails.
He waters psychic seeds
with the milky drops of his dreaming eyes.

By dawn tendrils will have sprouted,
they will bind up all his loose ends,
then he will drift like a gibbous moon
over the rib-sprung hollow of his bed.
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Submitted by JohnDiamond on February 16, 2021

1:00 min read

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    "Incurable" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 24 Sep. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/62053/incurable>.

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    What year was "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral" originally published?
    • A. 1773
    • B. 1701
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