dead - apatheticroommate


caitlin peck


DEAD 1


She crawls muddy

up the banks.

Singing don’t call me

if nothing is granted, then nothing is given, & I

am sick & dying on the bathroom floor

a thousand times over, dangling my arms like

old sticks, like phantom limbs over the edge of

the bathtub—


When I am broken and bloody, whose hand

do you hold? Because it isn’t mine. I know I am only beautiful

when I smile; pain is so obviously unattractive.

So you want to go to heaven? You’ll have to be clean.

No one wants a dirty little toy soldier, wringing her hands like she’s already dead.

Try to show your teeth for once.

You’re gone

& gone

& gone.


You keep your mouth clasped around the blood.


DEAD 2


Soft hum of the air conditioner late into

the night. It’s hot outside, but the cold collects in pockets

when the doors are closed. I couldn’t tell you the first time

I wished I was dead but I know the last thing you said to me

by heart.


Slowly rises the blood up my throat.

I so desperately want to ask you what you think of this thing called life,

and why it always feels


like I’m choking on thick red when you’re not

where I can see you—


If I didn’t have to breathe, I would sit at the bottom of the ocean

until the cold killed me or

I grew so old I looked like a new person who could meet you

and love you—

This old skin isn’t glass. This little death that I drink once a week

has my fifteenth soul in it,

reborn each year like a phoenix, but you probably wouldn’t like that metaphor;

it’s so overused these days. Too common.


The inconvenience is that God

left his sweater in my bedroom after he cheated. I really thought

he was giving it to me but he wants it back. I let him convince me I was

special for having you— for

shielding you from the rain with my

bare hands, bending myself around you like a slinky

down a flight of stairs—


The song is over: I’m dead.


I won’t have the heart to haunt you. If anything,

I’ll fold your clothes and put the dishes in the sink

when you forget them upstairs. I’ll


correct the spelling on your essays while you sleep

and pet your dog if he gets scared at night

when you shut him out of your bedroom.

I’ll be the best help you ever had, silent and unseen,

just how you want me. I’ll be dead; that’s the end of the poem.


DEAD 3


It isn’t

dead, it’s buried. Sometimes when things are underground they breathe anyway, or

they were never alive at all. Take

someone like your mother for example. Her hands are dirt-soaked

and wretched yet

her lungs expand outward, cancerous, eating up her air

like tiny hurricanes.


- apatheticroommate

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