Vacant

Mother tells you to slowly sip the ginger tea.
She promises it will remedy your ceaseless weariness 
and return your joy. 
The ginger shavings scald your throat and incinerate your voice.
You want to tell her it won’t cure your sickness, 
that the disease rots your mind,
not your body.
But you silently let your lips turn to ash 
from the steaming cup. 
She can’t know it’s pointless
to tend to someone that isn’t here. 
 
You check in as guest into your body. 
The crumpled sheets and a groaning mattress 
are the only indications of life. 
You feel disgusted at yourself in the middle of the night
when only the cesspool of neon cheetos and acidic Sprite sustain your stay. 
You’re ashamed of the hostility you inflict on your bones, your muscles,
your heart. 

You wish your only worries were if the fireflies would flutter at dusk,
and when the sharpness of fall would sneak up on you. 
Sticky summer days were passed with puzzles. Sometimes, 
you still feel the exhilarating delight
as the last perfect piece fit in its place. 
Now, you struggle to breathe.
People tell you pain can’t suffocate. 
These days, your puzzles sprawl unfinished across your bedroom floor,
waiting for the day you learn 
you can’t become whole if the pieces are lost. 

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