Ashes

Severe Thunderstorm

You know this spell better
than the words to yesterday

and you don’t seem to mind
the extra hours of sleep
bestowed between pill bottle
and plastic pitcher on night table.

This waking life is just
another way to slip and slide
along hospital corridors in the dark

to linger on the pulse
and pump of passing hours.

Comfort lies in face hidden
among dust and paint chips,

not in the aftermath of
a glittered party favor
or another rabbit pulled
from your top hat.

Hospital beds and heart rate monitors
are as tricky as cards,
and you, clever juggler,
attempt to balance crystal with fire
in mortal hands.

How sweet it would be,
just this once, to taste the sea salt
of pulled taffy and pretend
to be amazed by you.

Instead, watch
how easy it is waste away.

Life burns easily without the need of
magic words and flick of wrist.

The scattering of ashes is a ritual
a person should never get used to.

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