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,
            both
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, but
technology
            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 final moment
of your lucidity:

            the eyes of death

            staring back at me.

*The Eyes of Death – Off With Their Heads