Some deaths take the slow turn in the light from dusk to night.
My father takes his time is trying to befriend him.
When he goes with it he will go.
He will trust death as a friend near the end of his life.
There were not many late nights he did his drinking at home.
And worked one job for 50 years he didn’t gamble or cheat.
Was home for dinner every night he listened to us talk in silence.
Now death walks by his side of the bed sinks, his body
Weighs the mattress down the hall it breaks into a sprint.
I witness it encroach step by step he eases into lethargy.
Hair and skin looking so thin was he always so thin?
A creaking sound walks around the house I hear the weight of delirium.
He can’t sleep with the noise of him gasping echoes.
When he awakes he dreams his father yelling, Get Up.
Someone’s at the door knocking.
Copyright © 2022 by Celeste Guzmán Mendoza. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 6, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
it used to be that i would write to enact a
desire for isolation. it was a way to say. i
want to be left alone. to my thoughts. with
my words. i want you to leave me alone. cant
you see that im trying. im trying to write. im
thirsty. im writing these words to quench my
thirst. i write alone in the hopes that i would
write myself into exhaustion. into sleep. i did
just that. and that was when you came to me.
carrying water in your mouth. you leaned
into. you passed it along from mouth to
mouth. our lips did not touch. this was not a
kiss. a kiss would not have led me here. you
woke me from sleep by quenching my thirst.
this lasted but a minute. i am thirsty again.
today im writing. its usually to someone. im
writing something. i want to hear it read out
loud. i want to see it on a page, in a book. i
want to see you inside these words. where are
you. i am thirsty. how are you.
Copyright © 2022 by Truong Tran. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 4, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.