when her skin took to her bones like saran wrap spun tightly around a bent stick
tight, thin, clingy
spine corrugated, visible
when fragility of the vessel is incompatible with the strength of the spirit within
that’s a crime
but we can’t prosecute it
diplodogmatic immunity
there’s never redress for injustices like this
only empty wallets
spent pill bottles good for nothing
except taunting after the fact
they did nothing

we can only hold her through the dying process,
a misnomer,
like her flesh, a eucharist strength cover
over something more sinister festering beneath
working its way through from the inside out

her name was Layla
she was my dog
don’t laugh
she died 18
i was 18
ours was a fusion of souls you’ve never seen

moments gross, undignified
the sopping decay of old age
heartbreaking and cruel
even when compelled to talk about them, to save yourself,
the caretaker for once returning his hands to his own wounds,
something inside constrains
to release your memories and soul scars into the world over your tongue
no. too retching, revolting. i might throw up, to feel the offensive travel up from my bowels through my heart to my mouth
but worse is to free the moments from the mind, where they cling like blades cleaved into meat
worse to allow them reality
better to sink in denial
and hope against reason you’ll forget

when she would not eat, there was
a cactus in me, spearing me, pricking my every move
i had to stick needles in her
things i won’t describe
scrape her shit off the floor
black from some medical jargon
latin words that end in -icis and -ia and pain and disbelief and god why
why like this

medical jargon
only made it worse
doctors and their callous attempt to sanitize
could have just said it, spared me at least one of the endless sorrows to come
but instead we played bitter banter of whys and hows and but what ifs until finally
“she’s going to die?”
three months

i thought it was black from the death inside her
slowly, viciously working its way through
from the inside out

this is the only death i know
the betrayal of yourself
your organs against you
i wish with awful ignorance
that death always came from the outside instead
drunk drivers and bullets

left to ourselves
what our own bodies do to us
nothing is comparable

the doc tried to congratulate me
i really went above and beyond
did everything i could and more
most people would have given up a long time ago

fuck you, i wanted to scream
powerless, impotent, small, defeated, blown apart and smashed to a sad mushy glop
that was me

in my arms, a final spasm
3 am. darkness
whimper, eyes’ final glimmer, and she’s deceased
rigor mortis
why the world kept spinning i do not know
all sound disappeared
deaf to my own cries
but she was in peace

above and beyond
did all possible within the bounds of known science and human endurance
did everything
and she still died anyway
now i’m here without her
i’m young, my body is fine
but left to ourselves
what our minds do to us
nothing is

there were many moments of cheer during the three months
yet that’s what’s so cruel about memory
you have to fight to bury the amputation of your love underneath the lighter bits
but i can only type one poem at a time
and now’s a time for melancholy

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