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Will I leave my breath 
    or will my breath leave me?

Will the sandbar openup
    and swallow me one day
    when all I meant to do
    was sink my toes in a few inches
    —for balance—
    to feel the ebb and flow
    nudge me
    as if I were merely a reed?

Will the herons continueto bless me
    by ignoring me
    unless I breach their personal space?

Will the Tony Onleylandscape 
    of pale blue Gulf Island mountains 
    forever stay out of reach just so? 
    Ever just so?

Will the green canopyof Lynn Valley headwaters 
    protect me from the autumn rain? 
    And does protection at all entail 
    keeping me wholly dry?

Will a sufficient numberof people
    continue to stay away from the Sun Yat-sen Gardens 
    on summer weekday lunch hours 
    to keep from crowding me? 
    Or is this the wrong spirit to adopt?

Is the Tabasco sauceleft on my table 
    when I arrived at the bar
    an invitation
    to live more of an overwhelming life, 
    or to abandon my hesitancy to buy anything hotter than “medium” Que Pasasalsa
    or to just—I don’t know—steal it, you know?

Will my breath take,some day, 
    a cosmic cue 
    to sprout wings on my [arbitrary?] final exhale 
    so that all those billions and billions of molecules 
    can spend decades traveling the planet, dispersing, 
    so that one day, 
    all people living 
    will inhale a molecule of me? 
    Or, will I, some arbitrary day,
    wake up, 
    ride my bike down to Vanier Park in the chilly winter wind, 
    step down the boulders facing the Maritime Museum marina, 
    sit leaning against a large cold granite stone, 
    then BE no longer NEEDing my breath, 
    so that days later, 
    dozens of friends and relatives board the Queen of Whatever’s-Up-Next, 
    travel towards Schwartz Bay, 
    meet on the stern deck in the drizzle, 
    ponder a moment of silence 
    before watching someone who’s pitched at least in the minor leagues, 
    heave my ash urn, 
    not haphazardly, mind you, 
    but with charmed gusto 
    into Active Pass 
    under the distant, pensive eyes 
    of the bald eagles 
    perched in stillness 
    in the treetops 
    on the northern tip of Mayne Island?

Will I leave my breath 
    or will my breath leave me? 

Copyright 2002, StephenBuckley
07.24.02 [BackstageLounge, the Tabasco sauce really happened.]

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