I know life.
How it goes limp,
Half-hearted, stumbling alongside me
Until I’m dragging it by the arm
Like a drunk friend I promised I’d get home safe tonight.
I rattle off each reason
Why it’s a sinking ship
And I don’t mind being on board.
Sometimes it leans on my shoulder
And smacks its lips
Until the sound rings in my ears
Like loose static
Shaken from the nearest television set.
Sometimes it chases me up trees
And keeps me there until the wolves go home.
You should know my eyelids are drooping
With the weight it takes to write this.
Sleep wants to carry me from these words
Like a stranger at the market trying to grab my hand
And lead me away from mommy.
You should know life has
Still got me by the shirt collar.
Tripping over itself, half hallucination,
It raises its face to mine
And with breath reeking of alcohol
Says, “Take me as I am.”
And I do.
I take it by the hand
And lead it to the bathtub,
Wash the smudged mascara from its eyes
And the dried vomit from its hair.
I lead it to the bed
And pull the covers over its waist
Like we will forget this tomorrow
But we will not.
Because I can see it clearly now.
The parts of its skin starting to sag in,
Where its teeth have gone yellow,
How its cheeks have deflated
Like popped balloons
And I’m holding the needle.
I look life in the eyes,
Those slow somber orbs
Spinning on some axis I can’t see,
And I tell it the only thing I can:
I tell it I will see it
In the morning.