top of page

toxicology - poems by maia vásconez-taylor

to just how small you were but how

big the hole was that you left behind

When he died,

I wonder if he drifted from room to room.

His dad buys a cake for what would have been

his fifteenth birthday. I think about

reading every tombstone in the city

until I find where they planted him.

The sunset was so beautiful the night

he left. You lost fifteen pounds.

Maybe you got smaller because

the guilt was eating you away.

You were home when he stained

the carpet but you couldn’t stop him.

It was the winter you would hibernate

like a bear. No one blames you

for staying in bed that year.

Since you slept through the sound

of a bullet going through drywall/skull

now you don’t sleep at all.

When you close your eyes

you can still see how white/red it was.

You don’t even want to blink anymore.

You ended up in a morgue, desperate

trying to get that image out of your head.

You replace his anguished face with

the well-rested one. He is so calm.

He does not blame you. You hope

god is real for his sake. Or not even god,

just heaven. Heaven is a place filled with

pugs and kittens and he’s

finally happy here. He’s finally happy.

Another holiday went by without you. I do hope that

there was one great firework show up there.

should i die before i wake

Don’t you dare cremate me. Don’t you dare

take who I was and

reduce it to ashes. To be burned alive

is the worst ache one can ever know and

I don’t fancy it after death either.

I have always, always, always wanted to be buried

without a casket.

Place me back in the ground,

cover me in soil. I want to be planted.

And when you come to visit

don’t bring

bouquets of cut flowers.

Bring seeds, bring bulbs.

I want to bloom.


The weatherman said it was going to rain but he didn’t mention

when it would let up. It’s been raining for years.

I keep telling myself I’m not allowed to be this downpour,

this unhappy

all the time. It doesn’t help.

I don’t want to be brave today. I don’t

want to do the work today. I don’t want to do the work today. I don’t want

to do the work today. I don't want to.

Now the only thing worth living for is the sunset. I’m letting things

pile up instead of taking care of them. I want to see just

how high I can get.

This is the terrible precipice I’ve been peering over.

Everyone/ no one is worried for me.

If I fall on them,

I will be so heavy. And what is it if it isn’t

everyone you take with you on the way down?

I thought I would fall right into the sunshine. I thought I’d be

covered in it.

Oh my god I can’t die yet,

my room isn’t clean.

Look, I brushed my hair.

I got dressed.

See, I'm better now. See?


bottom of page