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
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.