The Eyes of Death

For my father.

So that you wouldn’t die so undignified,
I wanted to force a black rose
        down your throat, so
that the thorns
            would pierce your larynx
        & silence
the animal noises;

a language
capable of expressing
        only pain & existence,
belonging to you alone.

Your cells were in rebellion:

first, they conquered your lungs,
before taking your liver
        & then,
            traversing your spine,
they laid siege to your brain:

dead pixels in your irises,
        made me think
            of machinery,
            doesn’t feel pain…

Hours dragged past like sandpaper against glass.

I held your hand, sat by the bedside as
        you died,
until suddenly, what remained of you
        sat upright
& pulled me close enough to hear
            your last words…

& that’s when I saw it, in the last moment
            of your lucidity:

    the eyes of death
        staring back at me.

*The Eyes of Death – Off With Their Heads