The opposite of death isn’t just life.
It’s a hovering hummingbird’s elastic nest
Tethered together with spider silk threads.
It’s rowing until I’m out of breath,
Pulling and reaching, pulling and reaching
When all I have to do is stop.
It’s the sponginess of a lawn
After an April deluge and the winter melt.
It’s like walking over thin ice
While pretending you’re weightless,
Each step a hesitant trespass
Onto an expanse of cloudy glass.
It’s never stopping, continuous motion
The illusion of the blur of wings
Filling in all the empty spaces,
Making circles of light in the darkness
With our Fourth of July sparklers.
The opposite of death
Is just the moment you catch your breath
While the opposite of life is that stack
Of unread New Yorkers rising from my desk.
It’s running out of time,
It’s forgetting to pick up flowers,
Forgetting to email you back.
It’s chalking up your loneliness
To the whims of being misunderstood.
It’s a stop-action photo
Of a hummingbird in mid flight,
The Great White who succumbs
To stillness just before it sinks.
The opposite of life is everything
That doesn’t happen but should.