It’s Like This

You don’t want to say,
“I’m afraid because
my mother is slowly dying,”
so you mention social awkwardness,
the fear you’ve given offense,
the slant of the rain
and its relentless repetition
of the same flat note
on the air conditioning unit.

Grief styles itself
in many forms.
You suddenly think
you’re falling apart
as those you love
fall apart. The blood rides over
the bones in the wrist
as a rapids, crashing down
into numb hands that work
fingers against each other
in half prayer
half frantic wish
they could do something useful.

The mind distracts itself,
carries the body
to the freezing river
wishing to lose its footing
and the frightful future
but says it’s merely
an invigorating diversion.

Wander back home
and the dust gathers.
Whatever room you’re in
draws inward
with every inhalation
but doesn’t release
with your breath.
Everything just gets smaller.

This was in part an experiment to see if I could get away with writing a poem in second person.

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