Sit Shiva

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do you want me to
ignore your death
and avert my eyes
from the rope and blue throat
that screw into hallucinatory pictures
flickering, bottomless
you sick in a wet black swamp praying this could be your last day
between grey houses
between the strichnine train tracks
between my cousin
with his tough polite monotone
who didn't know what to say either
except that no, he doesn't want to come home
he wants to stay here
he wants to watch your body rot

to seek absolution in your cold wrinkled face
and let the brittle stench infect him
with a pain that will last his life

do you expect me
to respond nonchalantly
to news like this?

do you expect me to nod, give a look
and go on reading my paper and sighing
and drinking my coffee and sighing sighing sighing
and chalk it all up
to one of the many calamities of march
till sticky decay wraps its tensile fingers around my chest
and I too become one of the many embalmed organisms
and no one stops to mourn me.





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