Lament of an unnamed soul

I reach for the back of your hand, and press

it against my dry, cracked lips. My shadow

embraces yours, entangled in a mesh of tears

and apologies. You smile, as you complain about

how I should just leave you alone, get some rest

since you said you’d be here tomorrow. You

promised after all


though I’m not so sure.


Because outside the world is


christened by blacks and whites and hispanics and asians

and straights and gays and trans and bis

and rich and poor and

adults and



and Death.


I see Death, who sentenced you, perhaps through someone from so very long ago,

or the protesters who always speaking on your radio,

or the people in white coats with ice in their eyes,

or the pen of a politician, acting as if someone could shoot them at any moment.


I see Death.


I see Death, and you whisper you love me.


You pull me close, your fading breath washing

over me. You thank me for everything I’ve

done for you.


And I shake my head. What are you talking

about? Why would you say that? Don’t go.

You promised me. Don’t go. Don’t go don’t go

don’t go don’t go-


You tell me it’s fine.


You hate this, as much as anyone. You didn’t

want to die, but you said death kept beckoning

you. Says it calls your name. There’s so much

warmth in the sound.


I tell you not to leave, not to become just

another example of abnormality, another

statistic in some forgotten database,

another quilt in a blanket of corpses, another

tragic case in a random documentary. I

still see Death there, with that wicket grin

on his face. I see you trampled upon over

and over and over again.


Yet you don’t listen. You say to stand strong,

remember to take my own medication, to be

kind and compassionate. Stop leaving the pizza

crusts everywhere, and to give my mother your

cookie recipes and parenting books.


Death keeps laughing

people keep talking

protesters keep protesting

with the same callous look

upon their faces.


I finally sit beside you,

before leaving you that night.


The next morning, I wake up

and see you’ve broken that promise.


And I can only cry when

at last, death takes you away.


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