Death Sentence This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The stark white halls
Stink of bleach
Florescent lights glumly illuminating
The long stuffy hall, drifting down
From the dull white ceiling tiles.

We pass through a set of
Metal doors burdened
With weight, concealing
Another set just like the last
But these latent doors
Are masked with safety signs
Cautioning those who
Enter, warding off the
Sick and weary.

My heart quickens,
I wait for someone to
Open the door, for my limbs
Have gone limp, and my palms clammy.
With slow, hesitant movement
We all enter through the threshold
To the private ward.
This is where they keep them.

My dad approaches a nurse
Smiling sweetly at us
He speaks with a hushed tone
And she leads us to the first room
On the right, we enter as
She speaks in a too-cheery tone.
A small narrow room, concealed by two
Glass sliding doors on either side.
It again is filled with safety signs.

As instructed, we remove our jackets and scrub
Our hands clean of any contamination
From the outside world.
All too soon she slides open the other
Glass door, pulls back the curtain
And there he is, my uncle
But that isn’t him at all.
Pale, bald, and emaciated he lies there
Blending in with the stark white
Sheets and walls, wired to the murmuring
Machines, cables sticking out everywhere, staring
Up at a small TV screen in the corner.
My aunt leans against the expansive window
A dull smile lights her face but doesn’t reach her eyes.

I don’t want to look, but I cannot
Look away. A lump
Gathers in my throat but I know
This is not the time.
He looks at us
His goofy, easy-going smile
Only slightly pained
We all say hello,
My brothers and I with our backs
Glued to the wall.

We muster up the ability to chat for a while,
And his voice puts me slightly at ease,
His spirit’s surprisingly
Bright but his body
Conveys something else.
It says, I have cancer
I am weary and fading fast,
I am going to fail him.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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