not like this, the death i’ve seen: not like this. all day, weak, weakening i guess, i did not suppose. a steady weakness. (don’t hit it, my child says, don’t hit the deer, running silver like a travesty of justice) an afternoon, exhaustion, sun like conch shells singing in my ear, her ear. the nurse visits, blood pressure, temperature, says she’s ok, just weak, weakening, i guess. a week hospitalized tires you out, you know, a roommate’s news headlines blaring, the screams down the hall, the ear buds yanked from your memory. (i saw her, i say, i saw the doe) an afternoon, lilting falls of the chest, is she breathing, yes, yes, she is breathing, does she respond as i call her name, name. six pm i say hey, Beth, your favorite show is playing, Father Brown, it’s six pm, Sunday dusk, the shaded slats stringed shut, the small blue doorway lamp switched on. (that’s what it is, my friend said once, a switch on the wall, & something to do with God’s closure, disclosure) not like this, the death i’ve seen, the crash, the crash: speaking of the murder plot, the beloved characters, Father fumbling like Columbo did, the woman with sucker red lipstick forgiven, in the end, redeemed for falling into the desires of international spies — & she drowses, in & out, eyes in & out, shifting falling the way amoebas move & stay still at once — i touch her, call her, go into the kitchen, look at the cookies, call her name & fumbling call 911. not this kind of death, i’ve seen, i’ve seen the chosen death, the girl on the bed waiting, axes & gentle guillotines, Hey Jude, not this, the crash, the unresponsive, the paramedics in black with red badges, where is her DNR, does she have a DNR, this woman who rallies over & over again, to remain in this existence? (strip malls & the unidimensional unreality, i think of Fischman, murdered in his apartment, for opening doors to an unknown man). the unknown enters, disguised like the Emperor disguised like the invisible man. slits of blue eyes, dropped eyeglasses, i return to pick up the mess, the wonder, wondering should i have summoned the people of equipment sooner? i saw a friend nearly die last night. not like this, the death i’ve seen. (blue stag on the cusp of bitters) i see the deer i tell my daughter. i do not swerve. i see the goddamn beautiful deer.