Your Life Twice

                                                          on croit rêver sa vie
                                                          deux fois
                                                                              — Serge Safran
A lace shirt, and young women giggle beneath 
your window that looks out on a fountain
spewing water from the mouths of stone
           Is this your mother
or the chamber maid? You’re ill, flushed and
       damp, your father outside leading a horse into
       the stable, you’re coughing blood,                             

but none of this is happening. The year fills and empties
and you remain you. The trucks on Ninth Avenue are
noisy as the buses. The tan on your father’s arms 
    ends just above the elbows,
    his biceps milky and strange,

and you’re leaping in an empty parking lot
with a cap pistol, you have friends roaring 
behind you, a ruffian army that will burn a city 
to the ground. That will string barbed wire 
across a wasteland. That will lift stagnant water

to your feverish lips.
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
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