Forever a Sapling/Etoposide for Beginners

by Isadora Gruye and Marian Kent

Don’t bother pondering
what’s gonna happen
because it’s no secret:
I am coming for you,
and you can’t do a damn thing
to stop me.

Place those flowers in the trash can
and come closer, my sparrow.
For weeks, I have watched
mornings dissolve into afternoons
and no shadow as lovely as yours
has ever been cast across these walls.

Forget your lover, your children,
your poems yet to be written.
Forget the cherry tree you cultivated,
forever a sapling to you now.

Forget that my wrists
smell of iodine and bandages.
Forget that my toenails
have crusted orange from radiation.

Don’t bother giving up
your thrice-daily PBR
or try swapping bacon for tofu.
Don’t scribble in your journal
or make a fine documentary
lauded at Cannes
with 15 million YouTube hits--
The world might love you
but it don’t matter, you don’t matter.

Crawl into my sick bed, darling.
Rub your scruffy chin
across my fevered cheeks
and tickle my sallow knees
until they freckle.
Let’s give these blankets
something other than
deathwish sweat stains
to shake loose in the wash.

No race nor regimen’s
gonna help you at all--
You don’t even qualify
for a protracted goodbye.
I am coming for you
and you can’t do a damn thing
to stop me.

And then, we’ll lay still,
healthy limbs entwined
with my own.  
Knowing full well
there are worse ways
to waste away in bed.

Photo by Isadore Gruye

Seems like a good week to share again this collaboration between the amazing Izy Gruye and me, written two years ago. Be well, Gentle Readers.