For a Student Tempted by Suicide

When you're alone and nothing
makes sense, not even sleep
take down this book from the shelf
and read
not from any love of poetry or me
but just to remind yourself there could be
more life than you feel right now.

Remember the Chinese boy
who stopped the tank
with bare hands and quick steps?
Who did he think he was?
Somebody, I believe.
And back when men wore leather
And women petticoats
people lived whole lives
which history barely remembers.

Before them another people
living on the fringes, barefoot
(or maybe with feathers)
passed your seed on.
And before them, myriads of coelacanth
and frogs croaking in the ponds
of a muddy world before the Spirit said:

Somewhere now a crisp apple waits
on a checkered tablecloth. The odor
of lemons rises from the kitchen
and wood smoke floats on the wind.
The coolness of sheets and
something else. Listen.
Someone is coming down the mountain to visit.
Believe me. This is truer than the sky.

One morning you'll wake up, roll over
and get a good look for yourself.
You'll say: Oh yeah,
(remembering Think!)
It will come like that.
From the cold heaven where the sun rises
and when the sea grows calm.

"For A Student Tempted By Suicide" © copyright 1998 by Michael Hogan. Reprinted from Imperfect Geographies (Q-Trips, 1998).