~D. Moskowitz

Swan Song

He’s going to die today
I can see it
in the set of his shoulders
(high and tight
like dad used to be
a straight bar of muscle and bone
that makes him look
like the man he is
instead of the kid I remember)
the way he walks
(deliberately slow
like he’s memorizing the feel
of booted feet on soil)
what he says
(goodbyes that barely sound like it
admonitions he knows I’ll ignore
pats on the back that hit
just a little too hard)

Tomorrow we go out
all four of us ranged out
in an alley
the goodbyes more obvious this time
the laughter forced
smiles like razors
(I’m bleeding on the inside
so is he
common knowledge
but we don’t do anything
to stop it)
he leaves me then
in that cold alley in Detroit
eyes dead
but corpse still going
dancing along to the devil’s tune

I find him again in a cemetery
or at least his body
(not just him
two of them
strung up like puppets
lost to me
and each other)
and somehow
after he destroys everything else I have left
he comes back to me
just a flicker
enough to turn around
to fall
to drag himself down
and leave me behind