A Slow Death by Nihilism

October 29, 2017
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You don’t normally waste your last summer breaths
mapping out the dust particles hanging in the air while gasping
under the crushing weight of emptiness on your lungs. Ponder the thought
that maybe you too shall be assigned to an x and y by a disbeliever,
your existence reduced to only a smudge of graphite. Isn’t it strange


how the world slides out of focus when you most need it, the subway
that carries you down to wall street because the pinched hand
laying on your lap with its flaking amaranthine paint and
shriveled riverbeds beneath filmy skin does not look like your own.
You touch it, and it jerks away. We were afraid


of the monsters under our bed, but they were lost when the years
spun out, leaving us caught in a tangle of webs and hiding from the shadows
dragging our feet with only murmuring dust below us ; now
you wrap yourself in the thick woolen night to dance with the moon
and I can the stars burned in your back


from our bathroom window. I never saw you scatter yourself
into ashes catching a ride on the wind even when you stood
on the porcelain bones of our vestigial brother and never let your tears touch
the parched earth. I never saw you shatter like the vase that flew
across the room because it isn’t like you


to keep the light on for three days and four nights until it fizzles out
with a zap and fall asleep on torn books and sticky eyes. Sunday
prayers will travel no further than the larynx until they meet the rancid air
between your ears, and you no longer worry the tangle of worms
will dribble out when your head rests on lies. So you believe


the dead frenchman when he says there is no God but only lowercased
bearded white men too busy in retirement to respond to your letters. . .
but tell me this: wouldn’t believing cure your nihilism? Wander back
from the stunted land of heathens and once more
place your faith in hollow images. When you return,


believing again in the mud sucking your toes and the trail
running down your face is not the salt in your blood, sisyphus
will push his rock up the hill alone and we can restore
our naive halcyon days and blanket ourselves from truths
over ignorant nights.

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