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Bashō loses his footing + jack-tumbles
down Breakneck Ridge: twisted ankle,
crooked crown. A smug frog hops
across his forehead + splashes

into a pool of Bashō blood-grease.
The poet’s spit pools as EMTs (who
lead haiku-less lives) wrap his mangled
head + gangly limbs. He’ll recover.

Years later, he shuns the outdoors;
boulders fashion his bête noire.
He passes out pamphlets in Beacon,
another warped elder who still

combats apnea for nightmares of ponds +
cornflowers. He sits on his fire escape,
churns out manifestos. He grumbles
through hokey matinees, a divine bard

come alive with marrow only to be
spurned by a centuries-old beast.
He reminds himself of that bee he saw,
the one staggering from that peony.

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