Something 18

your death was supposed to be a clean slate:
a chance for me to drain the marrow from my hollowed bones
and chase the infestation of gnats from my garbage can—
a chance for rain water to clear the oil from the streets
in a swirling gasoline rainbow, slick and undressed.

it was supposed to be erosion, peeling the carved letters
from a sandstone gravestone where mud and earth left insignias
of their own—blue bonnets around covering whatever was left of the years
as the ground bubbled up.

your death—quick, unknowing and enthralling, really—was supposed to be
a drug or a drink to keep the mind slow so that the dangers of sulking
were brought out on an earthen platter for the world
to gorge upon; a way for all the men you have loved and lost to raise a glass
up to your name, your lips and sex and remember the good times
when you seemed so alive under our motioning hips.

your death was a dream, a nightmare interrupted in nightsweats
and a bang of the heater in the room, whirring loudly unlike your final breaths—
solemn, unheard as you gasped and spoke that name you knew only for a brief time
in your once-tense body—but those gasps were nothing final,
nothing but a laugh-riot chased away at the hand with an American Spirt Light
encased in its fingers: the smoke will kill you
before your death ever would.

your death was supposed to be a poem, a moment and not a thing
that you yourself would draw out like a scatter plot
a line or even a line segment: it was supposed to be a point for you
and a race to infinity for me and my poems:

instead you're alive
and if not for your poems i would think you were dead
like you said you were supposed to be.

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