Twenty-Six

I.

I counted
the number
of steps you took
to make it from the front door
to my bedroom,
twenty six

you stopped coming around
after your legs
gave up on you
because even they
were tired of carrying you
around

I slammed
your bedroom door
hard enough
to watch the hinge
break off
when my mother
said
you were a saint
for dying

II.

she brought home
a bible
the day after
you told her you were dying

she let it collect
dust in her nightstand,
the same nightstand
where she left her ashtray,
smoking cigarettes,
getting high

each time
I did not flinch
when she told me
you were dying,
she said

I’ve been thinking about god lately.
god will help you
try to forget

an occasional
christian
when the occasion
calls for it,
with get-well-cards
lining
your hospital room,
god can
fix
the terminal
if you
ask nicely
enough

III.

you cried
telling me
how awful it is
to die,
how the white
sheets on your
hospital bed
remind you
of death,

you can’t feed yourself
anymore,
a tiny baby
in the body of a fifty five year old,
whining
about things it does not
understand

IV.

I said
we’re all going to die

but not as soon as me,
you said

I sent a card
to your mother
with a pre-written
apology for your death,

followed up with
a handwritten note
detailing how much you changed
my life,
read between
the lines

7pm,
someone
is taking your body
and burning it

I wonder
if they think
you were good,
or if the rough
wrinkles
on your face
are enough
for them
to shove your body
in the fire
and forget
about it.

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