How Long


poem by Olga Rukovets


till someone
knows you’re dead?

ten days
says the girl in the diner booth
next to mine.

ten days
until anyone
found him.

ten days
of neighbors’
quick-cook chicken soup

and beer-stained footprints
on lonely fourth floor linoleum.
ten days

until the nasal passage pang
of fetid flesh
could shout victory.

can you imagine?
she says
biting into her bagel.

ten whole days.