3.Avatar Review
     A Review of Poetry, Prose, and Art - Summer 2001

Death Is Exhausting

Poems by Paula Grenside

At three, I died trying to swallow
half a loaf of bread Big Sister
stuffed into my mouth to stop
the crying . Daddy knocked
my back, made me spit the eyes.

At six, I flew three floors down
with an umbrella-parachute,
fell flat on the leather bag stall
in the market square. The quack
claimed my lamb skin for damage.

At twelve, communication killed
me as I skated and somersaulted
over the asphalt until a phone pole
crossed the way; a thousand
bells rang : urgent calls from heaven.

At eighteen, I died belching out
stomach, lungs and all the whiskey
I had drunk to show Barry the Heartthrob
I didn't care a damn if he polished
his nails on my best friend's ass.

At twenty four, death got white, turned
skis to wings in fresh snow as my
head carved a track to the crag.
An iced butterfly, I gave up all flutter by,
crashed on a lonely shaking pine.

At thirty, a vicious summer in Africa
caught me asleep; my skin blossomed
jelly fish, body boiled water
in open wounds while organs
had a severe argument with the heart.

At forty, fed up with death, I took
too many pills, grasped my father's
and child's cold fingers, ready
to follow them . Alien hands made
me give back the ticket for the angel trip.

Last summer, I forgot my age,
wallowed in foam at the spillway
of the Russian River. Sucked down,
I saw bubble cathedrals and green
sarcophagi with red-eyed angels.

I have been to a vet and inquired
about cats, all the deaths they
endure under shaggy fur, deep
through green eyes. He assured me
that next time will be for real.

© Copyright 2004 Avatar Review.