Deadsong

             I.

 

I will die in a gasping panic

with plastic in my windpipe.

 

            II.

 

I will die in a rat-king

of shrapnel and rubber,

piecemeal by the interstate.

 

(It will be my fault –

I do get moony.)

 

            III.

 

I will die trying to fix

a household appliance

I do not understand.

 

            IV.

 

I will die the way my father

says I will: trying to pet some

wild and cornered creature.

 

            V.

 

I will die the way my mother

says I will: famous and ancient,

painless in my sleep.

 

            VI.

 

I will die upon the hatchet

of a charismatic maniac.

 

(I am always inviting

vampires inside.)

 

            VII.

 

I will die from a benzo overdose,

which I’m told is uncommon.

 

(Cessation is worse.)

 

            VIII.

 

I will die concussed and

bloody on the halfpipe.

 

(I am too old to ollie but

the urge is only growing.)

 

            IX.

 

I will die in the desert,

molting like a cicada.

 

(I will not remember

how I got there. I will

try to drink the sand.)

 

            X.

 

I will die when the mole I’m told

to monitor goes melanoma.

 

(I am building a guest

room for the cancer.)

 

            XI.

 

I will die early in the fracas

when the Trumpists come blasting.

 

(I’m a partisan, to be sure,

but my body is soft

and flinching.)

 

            XII.

 

I will die, uninsured,

of some curable malady.

 

(Debt is a splintering pillory.

A lifetime of little deaths.)

 

            XIII.

 

I will die the way that men do,

never having apologized,

barnacled with secrets.

 

            XIV.

 

I will die of shame

at a cocktail party.

 

(My solar plexus tells

me this is possible.)

 

            XV.

 

I will die at sea,

reefing the mainsail

to balance the tempest.

 

I will die when

Leviathan rises

from the wet,

 

a shadow on shadows,

and asks me her

unanswerable question.

 

*

Anthony Immergluck is a poet, publishing professional, critic, and musician with an MFA in Poetry from NYU-Paris. Originally from Chicago, he now lives and works out of Madison, Wisconsin. Some of his recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, TriQuarterly, Narrative, Nimrod, Sonora Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and others. He works full-time at W. W. Norton, reads manuscripts for Tupelo Press, and loves dogs.