Sad As Is

By Kathleen Lee

I’m trying to nap for ten minutes
before swimming laps when two voices

waver as if in a dream. If you died today
we could know everywhere you lived from your bones

Because I am alert to death, I listen—
I tend to believe in the neuroplasticity of the human brain

to adapt
—and half-open my eyes to see
two dudes in beards and surf shorts on a bench

poolside. It’s February. There isn’t surf
within 2,000 miles and even if what they say is true,

they make it sound like bullshit. Still, dread
winks at me as if it has spotted my weakness:

insufficient neuroplasticity. I’m not adapting!
Where’s Adam? Family funeral.

A lozenge of silence dissolves in the room.
He’s a sad boy as is. I know the world

is not ever about me but here I am on a chaise longue
in a too-warm room, the air redolent of chlorine,

while a couple of idle chatty dudes seem,
I’m sorry to admit, to be speaking to me

in an intimate way, and I’m helplessly listening
because what else am I to do with myself inside time?

Kathleen Lee is the author of a novel and a collection of short stories. Now she writes poems.

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