Sunday, November 25, 2018

I Have Good News by Tony Hoagland

I Have Good News

When you are sick for the last time in your life, 
walking around, shaky, frail with your final illness, 
feeling the space between yourself and other people

grow wider and wider 
like the gap between a rowboat and its dock—
you will begin to see the plants and flowers of your youth.

And they will look as new to you as they did then—
little lavender bouquets arranged in solar systems 
delicate beyond your comprehension:

the dark gold buttons with the purple manes; 
the swan-white throat splashed with radish-colored flecks; 
the threadlike stalks that end in asterisks.

They are where you left them, by the bus stop bench; 
along the chain-link fence behind the widow's house. 
And you shall squat down on your heels

and gaze at them, just as you did before. 
Because this restitution of your heart is coming, 
you need not fear the indignities of death and growing old.

The synagogue of weed-head will be your evidence 
that every moment 
is not trampled by the march of all the rest.

It doesn't matter if you end up isolated and alone, 
pulling the trigger of the morphine feed 
repeatedly; it doesn't matter if you die

whimpering into the railing of the hospital bed, 
refusing to see visitors, 
smelling your own body in the dawn.

The dark ending does not cancel out 
the brightness of the middle.
Your day of greatest joy cannot be dimmed by any shame.

The traffic goes by on Shepard Avenue.
The honeysuckle vine braids in and out and in
the spokes of the abandoned bicycle.

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