Deciding Not To

By Tracy May Adair

a bird with an eye like a full moon
deciding not to die, after all–
–Mary Oliver

Each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday he raised himself
up and packed a bag, the endlessness of it
returning like a cat with a mouse in its mouth,
dropping its little, wet, mauled gift he’d rather not have
in front of the doorway, where he would have to step
over it or push it away with his cane
or relinquish the attempt at avoidance and step on it.

He decided again to push through the soft ennui,
climb in the van that came to collect him,
go to the bright cold room, sit in the chair
with the warming pad and doze while
his blood circled round and round,
and he continued a little longer.


Tracy May Adair holds an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. She also has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and makes a living working in the coffee industry. Because, of course, Poetry + Engineering = Coffee. You can read more of her thoughts about poetry on her blog,