How to Run From Death

The summer I remembered what love is
I candy-striped at a hospital.
I asked a girl I worked with how her day went.
She told me she’d spent it in the courtyard
with a man who was waiting patiently
for a new heart.
It was what I’d wanted to do,
what I’d wanted to feel, honorably,
a breeze tinged with sadness,
as if to prove I had some skill for living.
But so far all I’d ever felt was my own heart
beating surreptitiously
while I folded letters—letters with numbers,
numbers and names, names and addresses,
addresses and apologies.
I should have known I was acquiring,
bit by bit, a skill for dying.
I should have never hoped to sit
with the man, the woman, the child,
while my eyes only ever spoke of running.
In truth, there is no running.
Only folding, creasing, and bleeding
when the paper cuts you.
That day, the paper did cut me
and I spent the evening sucking my finger,
thinking about life and death
and how far away I was.
How close. The taste of blood.
And how far away.