After (Excerpt) 




The bed, your eyes almost

wandered. Under flesh

the stomach fermented,

gaseous and taut.

Esophagus purple thinning

tentacle. A wave of your hand

because you could not

speak, whispered raspy.



Experts on death

suggest the body

attaches to pain.


A grey light

from the window

around the bed frame.


The sheets covered

like limpid paper,

a body lingers

hollowed in bed.


Dad, there was nothing else.

What else was there

to say. We were exhausted.





Your smell

maple syrup into urine.

Your room, chemicals

from a bottle from a box.

We were the disgust

we were ashamed of.

Your body, decaying echo,

abdomen swollen

balloon skin

impossible to hold.




There are three types

of dying breaths:

yours, shallow half-breath,

body breathing itself  

when the brain stops,

when the heart stops.


Eyes barely open.


It is uneven breathing

uneasy, a new concentration

on our own breath to somehow

right yours; as you mouthed

the words I learned to read.


Then eyes uncloseable.

back to words

© 2019 by A.Martinez

Chicago, IL

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