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Hey, wait, they’re all threes!
you might cry, when the death

Make death your ally, said the old Toltecs, and she will never catch you unawares.

coach she throws gator dice
at your toes, and they land
side by side like a man and his
bride in the honeymoon suite
of the great Woebetide Motor Inn.

To my personal tale I shall now
turn, when the old hag she stared
at the dice till I burned. What does
sex mean—I mean, six? I inquired.
Not six, she replied, only two, ever
two—one is you, one is other, and
how you connect in one of four
ways. She made a quick dance of
her hands like mudras…I don’t
understand. Yes, you do. Top dot
is head; she gave mine a whack,
middle dot, heart; third is down there
in your twitchety parts. The other, your
world, is exactly the same—three dots,
one die, maybe come back again.
Die and come back, you get it?

She cackled and hooted at her unfunny
joke, then ordered me sit on the floor
while she poked at the dice and I felt
every jab like a doll made of wax.

She explained. If the dice had landed
like this, \/, twitch to twitch, you’d be
slow dancing, French kissing, and
smothered in bliss; you wouldn’t need
death coach on your shopping list.
If you and your other had landed
this way, //, you’d be pushing
toward dreams of the glorious kind.
Obversely, \\, is cruising downstream
to all worries joy-blind.

But we landed this way, /\, head to
head, I said, catching on to the patterns
of diagonal threes. That you did, said
the hag, which is why you are stuck
like a truck in proverbial muck. Thinking
too much of the world and its woes forces
the world to think too much, and leaves you
no space for dreaming and bliss and for
cruising downstream like a new sunfish.

So you’re saying that I…
That all I’d have to do is…
My half-assed questions remained
half-asked. I don’t know when or
how it occurred, but death coach
didn’t seem anymore so scary
and old like a big butcher bird.
In fact, she was looking like me
on my very best days, in the years
of my many and very best lives. A
warm tingle began in my twitchety
parts and rose to grow strength from
my opening heart. Agility in my head
the tingle derived by squeezing through
hemispheres of my mental divide. From
my crown it sprang out, a magician’s
bouquet, to shower petals and pearls
of adventure and joy to the world
beyond, to the other.

Though I knew in my soul there
was no need to ask when I reached
for the dice, I waited for death coach,
now radiantly beautiful, to give me
her nod. Then I picked up the pair
of ever-bearing threes,
and I threw them.

© Elaine Stirling, 2012