He squints at receding snow

up Hellgate canyon. Blue sky,

the raven has returned, insists he go

outside, offer up his skeletal

remains. The poet watches

warily from his dark cave,

ponders the ethics of suicide,

that emergency exit left to us

when the house is burning down.

It’s a comfort to know that

door’s not locked. He’s a telegram

stopped in an on-line world.

The poet’s grown tired of cigarettes

and pain, swallowing words that have lost

their bite. An old bear starves

when his teeth are gone.

Night will come, the clouds, the rain.

Rilke, the pills are on the TV tray

quiet under unpaid bills.

He watches the door. There’s no question

it will open some day. Maybe tomorrow

his daughter will come, fill the white space

beyond the dash. The poet lives, but sleep’s

all he desires. His cane rests,

propped against the bed or chair,

should the moon stir his blood to throb,

call him to stand, turn the knob and choose.

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