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Friday, April 03, 2020


by Gilbert Allen

"Corpses piled / tenderly along the curbs"
Dorianne Laux (“Lord of the Flies,” 2020)

"I do not pity the dead, I pity the dying."
James Wright (“At the Executed Murderer's Grave,” 1958)

Nobody dares give a damn about the dead,                                    
not now. Because if you did, you’d be
a demiurge of shadows—your own ghost,
unholy, praying for a miracle.                                                                      
A miracle to parse the mystery
of presences, of all the universe—
its molecules and light, its stars, coronas,                
infections, choices, triage, viruses.

Patient or provider, in this bed                                
you have a life to tend and medicate                      
as best you can. Till the determined day
you’ll move beyond the pity of James Wright—
above or in the ordinary earth
we creatures are condemned to walk upon.            

Gilbert Allen shelters in place in Travelers Rest, South Carolina.