To a Friend in Hospice
by David Starkey

  1. The view from your balcony is lovely—the entire
  2. town laid out like a Google map.
  3. And yet
  1. I can’t help feeling downcast
  2. as I say goodbye and you return
  3. to the plastic bucket cancer
  4. drugs have made an integral part of your diminishing
  1. life.
  1. On the drive back down the winding hill
  2. I think of everything but you:
  1. petroleum and mustard gas,
  2. mountains of discarded tires,
  1. a family in Bangladesh, continually looking
  2. for higher ground
  3. though the remaining unoccupied land
  4. is lower, wetter, swirling with sinister covenants.
  1. I imagine peasants in the year after
  2. the Thirty Years’ War,
  1. hardly happier, despite the unkilled cow
  2. nibbling grass
  3. in the barely recovered pasture.
  1. Watch hands frozen
  2. at 8:15 in the Hiroshima Museum of Melancholy.
  1. The thousand thousand crosses carved by Crusaders
  2. in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher,
  3. a day from here by air
  1. in uninhabitable Jerusalem.
Packingtown Review – Vol.5, Fall 2013

David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2010 Poet Laureate and is the founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College. Among his poetry collections are Fear of Everything, David Starkey’s Greatest Hits, Ways of Being Dead: New and Collected Poems, Starkey’s Book of States, A Few Things You Should Know About the Weasel, and It Must Be Like the World. He is also the author of two textbooks: Poetry Writing: Theme and Variations and Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief.

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