I grip tight my pocket-watch and measure the passage of time. I am alive.
When I am not watching it does not always go ahead—
time loops back around, the past rising like a yeast foam head
feeding on my water-logged lungs and broken bones that have never fractured.
I have tried to make my peace with the passage of time
but we have not been quite square since the day I died.
The world moves ahead with another turn of the cog. I am alive.
Yet I am always returning to when the world smashed headlong
into her bloodstained sister and skidded down a riverbank into knee-deep snow.
I am always waking up tilted sideways, as dead as I am deaf from adrenaline—
but I am always waking up. The dead must sleep eternally.
Yet I feel what we immigrants know: the dead are waking all the time.
They are only sleeping, or on a journey, and come when they are called:
when the drummer loses himself in the drum, when the cake is cut but not yet eaten,
when the peppered rum has no bite, or the mask makes a familiar man strange.
And like a spirit summoned up for a night ride or a holy visitation
I am never more present than when someone is saying my name
and when no one speaks to me, I am not sure I am here at all.
The minute turns over, one later than before. I am alive.
I am not in February's car, centimeters from a sapling.
I am not spinning away from a stone wall that will crush me.
This accident is a fixed outcome, observation changes nothing.
My heart still beats, I still breathe, time keeps pulling me along.
Yet like a ghost, I revisit my death again, again:
2 o'clock in the afternoon no matter if it is dark or bright
and it is always winter, cold with freezing rain, the road as slick as I am tired—
but the watch-hand moves. Never again will it be that February, even when it is raining.
I have never died beside the stream, though I am lying there even now.
Cycling like the second-hand, I repeat. I am alive.