36 THE MISSOURI REVIEW • SUMMER 2019
To “die from happiness”
but in this case also true—
the sick man dreaming so long for the fruit,
its sunset edges and ripened pulse, rippled with seeds,
that he dies from the first slice
laid out on his tongue.
Likewise the wish for water—
water clear of salt, unstale and unbarreled,
water poured from porcelain to hand,
from hand to lips,
water that is sweet because
it is nothing—
why, that kills, too.
How often the sailors lay deep in a reverie of home so real—
homestead, village, prairie,
land on which they once caught beetles creeping over mud,
hid stones in the rough grasses—
only to wake to the ship’s damp disaster,
the body a nesting of scars and bruises,
thighs chafed, groin blackened.
Who can blame the body
for what the mind can’t undo?
No wonder it’s then death takes them—
first sight of land rising from the sea,
green and enameled, spilling over with trees.