Monday, July 16, 2018

Lazarus

by Ron Alexander

'''Now that John is feeling better, 
he has realized that AIDS 
has destroyed his life,''
 said Dr. Howard Grossman.”
David France, New York Times, October 10, 1998

The sign says the wolverine
weighs but thirty-five pounds
and will take on grizzlies
            over a kill.

But that’s hardly the whole story.
You have to chase it over sharp
            granite talus,
through the manzanita
scrub, grab it by the tail
and wrestle it down the mountain.

Clamp
your hands on those jaws.
            Squeeze your fingers
between its teeth.  Pry that feral
mouth open.  Start with one foot—
then push the other in. 
Climb down its fetid gullet
among the shards of bone
and clumps of sticky
            matted fur.

            Tight quarters.
Just to get comfortable enough to rest,
you have to curl up tight like when
you were a babe in your father’s arms.
Only then can you pause,
take a breath,
            plan a future.

© 2009 Ron Alexander, originally published in ASKEW Poetry Journal, (7) Winter/Fall 2009

Ron is a mostly retired psychologist, long-term AIDS survivor, and a celebrated poet who lives in Santa Barbara with his partner Gary R. White. Ron contributes to Santa Barbara Literary Journal as the Poetry Baron, SB Lit Jo's ambassador to both Santa Barbara and the larger poetry communities. You can find the first volume of SB Lit Jo on Amazon here.

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