will die from having a body. After years of dragging himself out
of crawl space after crawl space, cockpit after coffin,
after turbine tunnel, battleship hull, bunker, burning Camaro,
abandoned mine shaft, and missile silo. Even after making
love to over 30 years–worth of beautiful, dangerous women,
what a stunt it will be! How marvelous! Impossible star dead
asleep at 103, the tabloids will tell us all. We should all be so lucky
to be impossible stars. And we should all be so lucky.
I would. So would you, wherever you are. I look like Tom Cruise
when I run, you once told me, and I’m sure you still do,
so it works out for you. Elbows squared, jaw tucked, knees high
as blistering popcorn when, somehow, in all my dreams
we’re starring in a Tom Cruise movie until the end when you escape
and it’s me behind the wheel, belted in, latch-stuck, caught up
and sucked into motor blades, crushed under gears, roasted alive
when the fiery staircase finally collapses, lost off the bridge
as you alight to the last rung of the rope ladder let down from the chopper
that will take you away. It all works. My parachute’s the one
that doesn’t open in the final free fall from the airliner, from the cliff,
from the pyramid, from the mirrored tower. Hasta lasagna,
don’t get any on ’ya. Darling, if you were dead, you would know it,
and I would, too. I would know it how ripples know to obey impact,
how frozen oceans know what to do with handcuffs. I would know it
how animals know when something bigger is coming faster
than they will be able to run, so they tremble. I tremble. I cover my face.
I will know the smoke by sight when it blinds the horizon with your loss
one day, or so I think sometimes when the wind falls asleep at 103°
and the impossible stars come out like the silver-filled teeth
in the smile of a villain in the dark. And I am a villain in the dark.
I count the fingers I still have on each hand and begin again
to tell myself the story of my last breath on earth. Everyone’s got one.
Even Tom Cruise: the wind in his lungs one day blowing out
past his body, even as his body holds on for dear life as it did
with every sky scraper he scaled with techno-gloves,
every plane he clung to with grappling hooks, because it’s never
as easy as it looks: running along the roof of a moving train
or having a body, my dear—the wind off the river flooding you,
pouring over your shoulders in every memory of you running
a hand along your face, touching ear, now mouth, holding your jaw
how you always did when turning away to take on the sky
like a cut-glass shot glass, like a crystal fist full of light.