won’t breathe without

I’d like to begin again. Not touch my
own face, not tremble in the dark before
an intruder who never arrives. Not
apologize. No scurry, not pace. Not
refuse to keep notes of what meant the most.
Not skirt my father’s ghost. Not abandon
piano, or a book before the end.
Not count, count, count and wait, poised--the control,
the agony controlled--for the loss of
the one, having borne, I can’t be, won’t breathe
without: the foregone conclusion, the pain
not yet met, the preemptive mourning
without which
nothing left of me but smoke.

[Deborah Garrison {1965- }, 'On New Terms', from The Art of Losing {Kevin Young, ed.}]

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