“THE TIME IS NOW”

I dreamt I was at another
man’s death bed this AM.
I brought him a rose stem.
He is allergic to flowers
so everyone brought him
only the parts
that he would appreciate.
A woman stood outside in
the blue hallway,
with double handle hedge clippers,
snipping the heads off flowers
before the guests could enter.
She was mad and did her job
like a ticket taker at the theatre.
He laid in there like a doll,
all dressed up with nowhere to go.
His beautiful golden bed frame
was surrounded by pots filled
with crimson dirt
and jaundice stems;
The pots were wrapped in brightly
colored metal foils and cellophane.
It looked as though it might have been
Easter morning for a gardening enthusiast.
I handed him my rose stem.
He took it from me
and bit down hard as he could.
“SEE! SEE!” he cried.
“I AM ALREADY BLOODLESS!”
He was right. He was bloodless.
The thorns pierced and poked
their entire shape
up and down his quivering lips.
But not one drop to be seen.
His face, whiter than Christ—
stared up into my face
with the intensity of the night
all the power
went out,
just as the tornado siren began to whine.
“LIGHT THE CANDLE,” he commanded.
So I did, but the only candle to be seen
was the thin spiraling birthday cake candle,
already melted to his forehead.
He knew—
He would die when I woke up.
He grabbed hold of my hands
with the strength of an axe,
carving out his monument,
and held them to his beating chest.
“MAKE A WISH, GOD DAMNIT—
AND MAKE GOOD ON IT
WHILE I’M STILL HERE.
THE TIME IS NOW.”
His teeth gritted together
like the centuries.
I took in a deep breath, as he took in his last;
My birthday candle wish sharing in his last air on Earth.
That is when I heard the garbage trucks in the alley
coming for him.
BEEPING.
BLEEPING.
BEEPING.
Until I woke up.

narrative poem written on 11-16-2010 by: on mattkane.com
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