Because this is what you do…

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”


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