care instructions


             

they tell me there’ll be burning

but i won’t feel it.

what i wouldn’t have given to feel it

they smile as if numbness

is a gift


i look at the ceiling

with a stranger’s hands inside my body

taking pieces away from

what might have grown there

from what died there


i look at the fluorescent lights

pretend i rise above my body

while i smell my flesh, burning

at least when i smell the death

i know that i once was alive


i’m given a bag with care instructions

i have care instructions now

where were these when i didn’t know how to care

when i drifted from the arms of a lover

to the doors of a church, to the cold of the alley?


lie down and rest, the instructions say

keep the area dry

stay where it’s safe and dry, god warns me

from the shores of the place

where he’ll drown me

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