A stranger whispers: “Next.”
Quickly, I search for words
beginning with L:
The longer leash
I used to give myself.
The leucistic Canada goose
often left behind in the park
among the ducks
while the rest of the skein
disappears into the sky for days.
The longevity of the Greenland shark—
oh, the legends
it could debunk.
The last time another stranger said to me:
“Listen to your body.”
“What?” “Listen to your body!”
“Oh, I stopped listening to her
ages ago. She mumbles. She lies.”
The longitude of their love, detached
from any true latitude, disintegrates.
The next major lunar
standstill and moon wobble
may flood more than you know.
The lingering shame
that comes from suddenly remembering
to defrost the freezer.
You wait and wait
for the miniature calving to begin.
The late summer leaves of an oak
that has prematurely dropped
its crop of acorns
on the sidewalk
during a desperately needed downpour.
The language of loss
that threatens to outlive all others.
This is not