Brisk Morning

Photo by Gabriela Palai on

Brisk Morning

The mornings grow darker,
Ink from last nights news on our hands still.
It is cold enough this morning for hot mint tea.
It’s like virus’ can’t wait for the temperature to drop,
To invade my chest and lungs. My voice

Is sore and not ready to face the day. My throat
And I have said nothing of the hurtful subjects
I will have to address today.

In this room, I am an engine
A soft noise. Nobody has heard it,
But I’m sure the car’s last drive is not far off.

In this room, I am still a son,
My mother’s voice confirms for another day,
As she informs me I’m no longer a cousin to a cousin that lost
His fight with the leukemia they shared.

In this room, I am an anxious pigeon
For crumbs to fall. Hungry for confirmation:
Cancer is not eating the inside of me.

In this room, I feel foreign.
One year of stillness,
Just illness and a body that dreams of how it used to get up after a punch.

In this room, I had to determine
to forfeit, to finish, to put up a good fight.
Nobody understands
When you’re in pain how hard that decision really is.

No one wants to end life a shitty novel,
Be the board game that goes on forever without a win,
Be the puzzle so close to completion with the gaping
missing piece.

I love learning new words. They are one of the only things I hunger for.
I am trying to teach new ways of speaking and tasting
To teens who only know
How describe their love of starving.

I want them to spell out their feelings in poems
Of razor marks on their arms and legs.
It’s hard to watch someone ignore a body that just fosters forgiveness.

Mine has never been so kind.
I go from one disease
To the next,
Every sound I make is sometimes my only feeling of grace.

I am drinking this tea,
All I have to talk about today.
My voice fading fast, my throat disdaining swallowing.

Still, I know in this room
What bodies diluted to young look like.
So I will talk and talk and talk
Until there is no voice.

And if there is still body
I will act until I can no more. To show
A body can find it’s holy
As long as it can make it to the chapel doors.

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