31 days of songpoems

*My cousin Salvador killed himself. He stopped injecting his insulin and sat in front of the television and passed away. I had always wanted a sibling. My sister was evil and my brother was dead so—Salvador offered himself to me and I ran into his arms. He never told anyone about his sickness. He was a proud Libra and dealt with his EVERYTHING by himself. He lived alone and I’d visit him every weekend. We’d order Thai food, watch movies and listen to French/Pakistani music. We got high and I’d fall asleep on his lap. A few months before he took his life, we had had a huge fight and stopped talking. We’d just gotten to being close again when he died. Life slowly turned into the lonely thing it was before he extended himself to me. I went back to school to stimulate something in me, and I decided to take some voice classes. For my final, I decided to sing his and my favorite song by Jacques Brel, “La chanson de vieux amants.” I was so scared on stage but as soon as the piano hit those first few notes, my body understood— this was my goodbye for Sal. 

I brush my teeth at least four times a day, a necessary renewal, an ablution

from the grime life carries obscurely

a goodbye to the food and drink that I indulge in like a war in my mouth

old love was once new, 

and I was once beautiful in the womb

we pack and unpack depending on the weather

a small kiss on the forehead 

can kill a million layers of contamination

sharing isn’t natural for the lonely—

we hang on to anything and refuse to break off a piece

for anyone—we budge for no one

the mystery of a tender heart escapes me, 

I feel it pulse 

and wonder 

how it’s possible

to hear a slab of meat play out the time allowed to breathe—

I feel it pulse 

and wonder about 

the king in his castle 

in charge of his ticking clock 

and when it stops

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