Paul's Cornger: Four Reincarnations by Max Ritvo

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Max Ritvo

AFTERNOON

When I was about to die
my body lit up
like when I leave my house
without my wallet.

What am I missing? I ask,
patting my chest
pocket.

And I am missing everything living
that won’t come with me
into this sunny afternoon

—my body lights up for life
like all the wishes being granted in a fountain
at the same instant—
all the colors burning the fountain dry—

and I give my breath
to a small bird-shaped pipe.

In the distanced, behind several voices
haggling, I hear a sound like heads
clicking together.  Like a game of pool
played with people by machines.

—from FOUR REINCARNATIONS BY MAX RITVO