Barry Ballard


When you’re gone you’ll be surprised to see your

disjoined body standing in soup lines,

with its history sloshing a lifetime

of unrest from the edge of the plate (poured

away through the world that supports you

while the witnesses confirm your death,

your invisibility, your foul breath,

and the mistakes that have split you in two).

And then you’ll realize that you’ve always

been fastened to both ends of this universe

and that no matter how hard you grip

this eternity, you can never say

your own name without them, or reverse

the wasted years when you avoided this.