How do we show courage in a time of laughter?
The same way we snicker before the doctor
delivers his grim, practiced monologue.
Before we cough blood there is a rasp of a laugh.
Before we speak ill of the dead there is a tickle in the back of your throat.
I know how to make her laugh;
Under her arms, between her rib slats,
A pantomime of my own unenviable decline.
Falling face down, right here,
Everything is funny and just fine.
The first wave of the army is hardened by rows of wry grins,
Belying whites of eyes the enemy always mistakes for fear.