One Step Beyond

Non-comprehension of omens
a vacuum cleaner
violently dismembered
cast into the gutter
catches my eye
a horrific crime
witness to the horrific aftermath
I cannot look away
which means I do not see ahead
my foot steps into dead space
and I plummet
hot coffee crushed and gushed from its cup
between chest
and concrete step
who put these things
in the middle of the sidewalk
I land on my back
legs to the sky
at the bottom of thirty-one
grimy stairs
I blink up at the square of daylight
above and sluggishly
get to my feet
glad to be able to
bruised, a minor limp
a left arm that refuses
to raise overhead
an insignificant red scald
on my neck
but nothing that can’t be
walked off
but I do not learn
the yarrow sticks were cast
portents granted me
and ignored
sore and sorry
back home
I do what is obvious
I should not do
inside the closet
the door opens
the Dyson vacuum
guests arrive tomorrow
work must be done
out it came
unspooling miles of hose
bristle duster accessory attached
I wrestled the python into position
suck-swallowing whole
corpses of musca domestica and dust
dust of my skin
my blacked & blued tissues
greedily sipped
like rye through a drunkard’s straw
but I was weakened
that brutal stumble into Earth’s bowels
no match was I
for the anaconda in my mitts
it wrapped around my neck
strangled out the sun
airless, gasping
second time that day
I go down
skull to hardwood
striking inexplicably
upon the head
of one of those nails
leftover from a time
when wall-to-wall carpet reigned
inward the floor it drives
no
that’s what I expected
instead
it cracks me open
all the light and joy and jumping beans escape
sunshine, lollipops and light refracted through the mist
pour out of my head
it’s blood on the floor
but it’s a double helix to me
of butterflies in flight
twin intertwining waves
crowning me
a halo of fluttery wings
former crawling worms
so much more
as I might be
transformed
by an omen
misunderstood
inconstrued
yeah, you guessed right
Twilight Zone ending
Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
I’m dead at the end of a flight of stairs

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