Cogito Roulette

by Brad Buchanan

I think therefore I aim and fire

at the general space of my awareness

not knowing if my luck will hold

if brain death would be bad or good

I have spun the karmic wheel

in search of an eternal fate

the curt verdict of a pistol

with five soft clicks and a single missile

that promises sudden Armageddon

otherwise my search for a unified being

with body and mind accepting each other

must continue out of range

I do not actually own a revolver

only an endless supply of pills

to launch at symptoms beyond the wall

of consciousness where my health lies prone

and praying for rescue or a stray bomb

to end the nightlong strafing from nowhere

I find myself on both sides of a border

an idle forefinger probes my temple

for a way to soothe the pressure

some system of knowledge to simplify

this painfully stark duality

Brad Buchanan's poetry, fiction, and scholarly articles have appeared in nearly 200 journals, among them The Antigonish Review, California Quarterly, Canadian Literature, The Dalhousie Review, Event, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Journal of Modern Literature, The Portland Review,The Seattle Review, The South Carolina Review, Twentieth-Century Literature, and The Wisconsin Review. He has also published three book-length collections of poetry, the most recent being The Scars, Aligned: A Cancer Narrative (Finishing Line Press, 2019), as well as two academic books. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015, underwent a stem cell transplant in 2016 (leaving him visually impaired), and is currently in remission.

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December 2019

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