One day in July,
I bent to pull weeds
in the garden, to lift
a large stone; I bent
at the waist and lifted,
to move a large stone,
to pull weeds beneath
and around.

                        I broke
my back; my back broke
—collapsed, two vertebrae
collapsed like marshmallows,
squeezed between unrelenting
fingers; fingers squeezed
marshmallow vertebrae,
and they collapsed, sending
shooting pains, pains shot
through muscles; muscles
could not hold them in.

like vicious weeds,
slice through ribs,
muscle, viscera to punch
my heart.

                This, I think,
is what death feels like,
a punch in the heart,
the spreading insinuation
of weeds through viscera
and muscle, a stone-cold
punch in the heart.

I yield, deathless,
to the pull of weeds.