the wake

She proclaims him beautiful

Like an angel, sleeping,

A soft contented smile

Draped like plaster on his lips. 

.

To me he smells sick and wet,

Like dead flowers decaying in the marsh

They found him in,

The anchor wound tight around his neck,

Eyes gone,

Bowels spilled,

The world entire empty of him,

As he willed it. 

.

I wonder how his hurt felt. 

Did it blister like mine,

And bubble up, the pus

Seeping out and clinging to him like

Maggots feasting on his decaying parts?

Was the pain of leaving meant to

Tip the scale

So the pain of staying 

Would feel less like suffocating 

Than pulling the lever 

And excusing himself?

.

I wonder if there was ever a note,

Tear stained words stitched together

Saying nothing;

An oft composed letter

That he could not bear to jot down 

Because they would think him weak,

And to name his pain

Was to pass it,

And the strong carry the pain

Until they stoop and slide into the grave

Broken by its weight. 

.

I wonder if he measured time

By the numbered days he gave himself

To breathe the breaths he wanted,

And feel the sun he wanted,

And hear the laughter he wanted,

And perhaps they would think of this

And not his absence. 

He would give everything 

For a small one

Or none at all—

Just a place for himself.

Different.

.

A mind not filled with black

And longing

And eternal despair;

A space he must measure in sleeping

His only peace in dreams,

Or dreamless slumber:

For the days are overwhelmed with wanting

And there is no more room for joy—

And what if this is catching?

She proclaims him beautiful. 

.

Perhaps at last he is. 

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