Shutting Down

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If I shut the border,

no one will shut their window,

hide in their closet,

lock their door.

 

They would shake the blinds of moths,

bring the dog in from the doghouse,

let the cat feast after the mouse hole

has been plugged with a door wedge.

 

In the distance

the train whistle blows

dispersing mist and rain.

No one steps off nor boards.

 

The bird nest is not abandoned.

The hollow of the tree stays hollow.

Nothing has shut down at all.

 

My pen scribbles a poem

only to watch the black words

return to the reservoir.

 

I open the dictionary to the word “hope”,

but the page refuses to settle

until I put all the words in them

face down on the writing table.

 

My stoma grumbles louder than my stomach.

I shut my cancer in the mother-of-pearl.

My wife’s cancer is placed in the

small valise of all our memories.

 

I can’t shut down the museum.

It already is.

I can’t shut down the cinemas.

They already are.

Only the pharmacies are open.

 

I shut down my mouth

on my broken jaw

with five missing teeth

only to feel the maw of death.

 

I shut down the ash of my childhood

into a golden urn of my own design.

 

I shut down America, I shut down God,

putting them both between the now

empty covers of the dictionary missing hope.

 

I shut down my passions, my emotions

in the moldy basement of my despair.

My shut down love is chained in the dungeon.

 

Shut up, shut down,  I repeat  to myself,

until those words lose all definition,

until my lips are sealed in pain and

the only thing left is my total shutdown.