Emergency Procedure

If I lived on the Blue Ridge,

I could be healthy, work as a craftsman,

build a log cabin, forget this complacent life.

 

If I moved to the Outer Banks,

I could eat better, fish off a wooden pier for snapper,

chew seaweed for snacks and dinner.

 

I hate my piedmont half-an-acre life

sustained on a suburban cul de sac,

scars of right-of-way passages, like surgical tracks,

cutting across my back yard, and that ominous line

of natural gas buried next to my drive – 

one more sign that it’s the utilities 

keeping me alive.

 

What exactly is mine?

Needle-filled gutters, like clogged arteries, 

dying bushes, like plaque lining my wall,

or the cracked concrete drive

deteriorating in front of my eyes?

My house lives on life support, inch-by-inch

sliding on a red clay gurney

over to my neighbors.

 

But what of that vein of natural gas? 

With a sharp knife and lit match 

couldn’t I, using a surgeon’s touch,

erupt my dying cul de sac? 

Resuscitate my life with a fireworks blast?

 

It would be worth it at last:

Better than living like a sad cadaver

with stents continuing the past, 

trimming over and over

the trimmed away grass.

****

An earlier version of Emergency Procedure was published in the June 2019 Issue of the New Delta Review.

 



Categories: Poetry, Selection: 2019

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