Cindy King


The palm reader says Death
           will take your life before you can. 

The city’s lost pets
           are found in suburban kill shelters, worms 

shedding eggs in the nests of their rectums,
           fleas making fire of fur— 

After cremations, the staff smokes
           against dumpsters, passing a joint 

between old developments
           and new. But this is their crime, not yours:

You are both vector and virus,
           supporting a life that consumes you. 

The post-furious boom in your brain
           is not the high that you paid for, not the fossilizing 

turbulence before a crash landing,
           nor the seismic preface to a chemical explosion, 

not Death calling your name, but clearing his throat.