Let’s Talk About Death, Dale Champlin

Michael Diehl, Sea Grass


Let’s Talk About Death

for who can sleep
with a promise of a world
beyond the door?

—Max Ritvo

How can I explain the inexplicable?
When the dirigible sun passed overhead—
over this place where all I see is terror
and death, where my goddess rejected me—
exiled—ostracized beyond my wildest imaginings,

music turned minor and maudlin,
water saline and brackish, nature clinging by
a spider thread, without even a moldy crust to eat,
cockroaches in every crack and crevice.

My body constricts, a dark bruise. Lovers
crumble like a plowed field in my wake.
I wasn’t promised anything different.
I wasn’t promised a happy ending—
potable water, adorable children,
ambrosia and honeysuckle.

If it’s green you’re after, you’ve come
to the right person—green as spring,
inchworms and grass, green as death
warmed over, green as a hurricane glowing
through forty-foot waves, green as mold, gangrene,
katydids, peas and cucumbers, spring wheat
and young forests, green as Gaia’s breasts—
more and more green burgeoning a toehold on life.

Dale Champlin

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