this is an old one, it is true.
washing dishes, i remember
that perhaps i didn't know it at the time
but for a while i would only read poems
of poets who had suicided.
the books were marked in those places
where i scanned the last lines of the bio
to find the bridge, the gun, the oven.
it was as if
words don't mean so much
that finally they had to go live only with them
that finally everything inessential became unbearable
that finally they needed to see what finally meant
their words don't contain beginnings and endings
how can they know pain without those absolutes
how can i take these details seriously
they have nothing to say to me
this ghost will speak to me
yes, speak, i breathe the words as well!
and because the beginning, the middle, the life and
any intervening text (poems) is only prelude and exposition
long leadup (if you know the syntax) to the
but i put the books away at some point
and even traded in the pen, see,
because all the world has dishes that need to be washed.