I knew a guy.
Cancer survivor,
but worn down by it
to the lacy bone.
Thin, with a dry look.
Still, a light shone through
his parchment skin
like a flame through
a mica shade,
like some kind of
organic fire.
The brush with death
left a calling card.
“I’ll be back” it said.
“You won’t know when.”

He knew, in other words, what
it meant to nearly end.
It was an epiphany, of sorts.

But there was this
glow, as though
he had a mandate to
slap the shit
out of whatever
time was left.

As serious as
a heart attack,
he was—
Afraid of
being forgotten,
Of not being worth
but determined.

It doesn’t have to be cancer.
Could be a stroke,
the kind of thing,
you try to explain,
but the lucky civilians
can’t understand:
“I could hear the whine of the bullet,
the ugly sound of
something ruthless
hunting, meaning to kill.”

You only know this
if you’ve heard the whine.
But it misses, now and then.
You realize
you’ve got bonus time,
but fear being forgotten;
you’ve wasted so much time.
but that fire …
You mean to slap the shit
out of untruths
in the time granted.
Make some noise.
Burn some rubber.
Make someone cry,

Make someone happy.
Be honest.
Be true.
Repent wasting
seconds of precious time.
You know not the hour or the day.

It’s an epiphany, of sorts,
hearing death whiz by.
It lights a manic fire.
But you live sweeter,
in the holy light.