XII. On Smiling

“Part two,” he exclaims.

“This plan is beyond reprieve, beyond reproach!”

And all ants wandered further to the sea

when they saw what he was cooking.

Sullied bedpans held out at arms’ length;

“My own perception is varied, like God’s.”

But all he said to me before and after delivery was:

“Smile while you can, smile for just a little longer.

Smile and be crucified

smile and die

smile and be buried.

And every arrogant dog that howls will only

turn to bone and dust, but you…

You are transcendent.”