because this is what you do. get up. blame the liquor for the heaviness. call in late to work. go to the couch because the bed is too empty. watch people scream about love on Jerry Springer. count the ways it could be worse. it could be last week when the missing got so big you wrote him a letter and sent it. it could be yesterday, no work to go to, whole day looming. it could be last month or the month before, when you still thought maybe. still carried plans around with you like talismans. you could have kissed him last night. could have gone home with him, given in, cried after, softly, face to the wall, his heavy arm around you, hand on your stomach, rubbing. shower. remember your body. water hotter than you can stand. sit on the shower floor. the word devastated ringing the tub. buildings collapsed into themselves. ribs caving toward the spine. recite the strongest poem you know. a spell against the lonely that gets you in crowds and on three hours’ sleep. wonder where the gods are now. get up. because death is not an alternative. because this is what you do. air like soup, move. door, hallway, room. pants, socks, shoes. sweater. coat. cold. wish you were a bird. remember you are not you, now. you are you a year from now. how does that woman walk? she is not sick or sad. doesn’t even remember today. has been to Europe. what song is she humming? now. right now. that’s it.
— Marty McConnell, “Survival Poem #17”