The microwave is beeping in time to the pulse in my head.
My fingernails are splitting, one by one, leaving ragged points
that scratch my numbed face.
I wander from room to room feeling like this house
is a stranger that’s abducted me.
I go days without washing my face or brushing my hair
and I blame the moon. It’s too bright, it’s too big,
it’s too far away, it turns its face away when I yell at it.
My dog is dying and I blame the stars. They prick holes in the blanket
of the night sky letting in radioactive rays that nuke him in the daytime.
He cries in a series of three little yelps. Sometimes when he yelps
only once I run over to see if it is his last.
My mother is dead and I blame the universe. It slurped up all
her light and left me with ink in my eyes. I’m so tired of death
and the dying. My scorecard is filled with so many black marks
it’s nonexistent. I feel my heart knocking on my ribcage and I’m amazed
it’s still there. Amazed my brain still fires, that thoughts still bump
around in my head like June Bugs flying into the porch light
as if they’re suddenly blind with no sense of direction.
The Last Earthly Gift
Swaddled in a brittle sterile gown
and mask I entered the room
where you were hovering
within a decision beyond your own making.
Your cheekbones startled me, sharp
and prominent in an unfamiliar face,
your eyes shuttered behind a veil of blue
flesh, lashes delicate as a spider’s web lying still.
You barely made a bump under the crisp white sheets,
the angles and planes of your bones forsaken
by flesh. The padding of your personhood vanished.
I felt the breath leaving my body, an inverted gasp of
shock. I imagined it flying across the room
entering your parched lips, a talisman for life.
That first day I willed you to open your eyes, not believing
I’d never see them sparkle again. It became my obsession.
Four visits a day, each time sure this would be the time your
eyes would meet mine. Forty-two days later you opened them
in goodbye, the last earthly gift I would ever accept from you.
Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in The Rumpus, Literary Orphans, Barren Magazine, Eunoia Review, and numerous other journals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize for her Creative Non-Fiction. She is a Contributing Editor for MockingHeart Review and Barren Magazine. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets. @charlotteAsh https://zouxzoux.wordpress.com/
Featured photo credit: Amanda Ollinik @Allunderonemoon