Signs of Death Urged ~ Sarah Browning

Signs of Death Urged

                        Headline in the Greenfield, Massachusetts, Recorder


When you are nearing death,

love, please give me a sign:

a semaphore flag

or yellow leaves falling all around us

or a stapler run out of staples,

everything flying apart.


Skywriting would do:

Surrender Dorothy.

Or my own body shrinking,

desiccating, becoming

redundant.  Please, help me see.


Something extravagant

would also suffice:

a bonfire of our lives

together – Paris and the neon signs

of Farmington, New Mexico.


And don’t forget our wooden

Dorchester triple decker –

that would burn too fast

and so deliciously –

all the lead paint, the woodwork,

the weak porches, all our sex,

all our growing up.


Of course our fights could go:

your fist through the door

and my silence, too.

Fire loves that kind of rage

and the meetings, the phone calls,

all the ways we tried to change

this bleeding world.


Give me a sign.

Trees and their blooming glory,

lilac – the way it grips us,

shakes us, sends us reeling

so we forget – this life,

what we thought we meant.