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Bardo

                                    Kathleen Hellen


A “revival” of sorts,
of tissue, muscles, blood.
They had dubbed her “premature.”
An obituary occurring before
the fact of dying.

The presumption in “presumed.”
There’s Twain, of course. Hemingway and Nixon,
John Paul II (twice), Betrand Russell (twice),
The Queen Mother,

Luther Vandross, Lou Reed, June Carter Cash.
Hierarchies assail: “clinically dead,” “brain dead,” “legally dead.”

Or: Smoke, flickering. Subtle bardos wherein
life transforms, shifts from consciousness
to consciousness.

Take the Brooklyn woman, 2006.
Or the incident years back in Carolina,
A man so-called after the accident.
In Salt Lake City, 2004, a toddler “resurrected.”
Another the previous year.

The St. Petersburg Times wrote the ineffable glow,
The tag on her toe. She was wrapped up like a baby,
her daughter said. There were flowers
when she awakened.


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