Benign

The thought
of more waiting rooms
recedes, along with the need
for bravery.

Small things matter again:
a cardinal
in the winter pine,
the wristwatch I misplaced.

At night I get into bed
with The Death of Ivan Ilych
and read of his
last three days,
his struggle in the black
sack he imagines surrounding him —
unable to wholly fit
or work free of its grip,
he howls and howls.

I close the book.
Wind roughs up the highest
branches of the oak.
Soaked in sound, the ear
opens like an eye.

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