As youth begins to die, title every empty list,
"List." Send what's left of you down
for jars of pickles neat in rows,
gherkins hidden deep in the basement
past stacks of sacks of beans. Your life
may not be totally over yet,
so live on the cautious side -- fill the tub
with water, along with empty jugs
that held cranberry, milk, apple, bleach.
It's ok now to dip into those preserves;
after all, their name permitted hoarding --
pears, peaches, beans, beets,
anything but kale, good only for torture,
stretched naked on the rack, tempting you
to squeeze the goddamn life out of it.
But now is not a time to let imagined lovers
take the day off. Pray for extra help
dragging the limp extension cord
to your neighbor's throbbing generator,
hoping she'll let you plug it in.