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Body:

The Moment

       for Karl

A bog of AIDS
and pain, Karl shakes
in his bed, as he has all night.
His every bone, from skull
to sternum to tiniest tarsal,
rattles by itself,
a chain of islands in an earthquake,
a storm of hornets
trapped in a burning hive.
Who should live like this?
For relief, he looks to his windowsill,
to his bulb of morning glory
in its terra cotta pot,
its dark bed of soil.
Fragile beauty, he coos
to the white petals, curled
inwards in repose,
clasping each other against the night.
Favorite, favorite flower.
And dawn arrives
in smokey rivulets of light
that claim the sky
the way pain
now retakes his body.
Every muscle, every sinew, every cell
shakes and flames.
And, like a ballerina
awakening on stage, the white bulb
lifts towards the light,
fans wide its five petals,
and abandons itself to the sky.

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