we sit in a dark room
as clear cords and red strings
spiral from your mother’s nostrils.
she drowns in the hospital bed,
tongue dripping with saline
and body smothered with naloxone.
we watch as she stains
the worn linoleum with
frozen earth and scalding blood
as God laughs.
there are a trillion nerve endings,
you say, and your hands
shake as you pull the tears from
your eyes and make a sea.
a ghost clings to your shoulders,
biting into your collarbone and
draping soft hands across your own
as we wander through dark halls
spoiled with antiseptic and burnt plastic
and walls that scream
with peeling paint and dripping trim.
your face turns away and blurs in
the hospital light –
you fall asleep as I keep watch,
waves crashing in the rooms behind us.
By Olivia Lewis