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

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