New York City skyline at night




Michael Morical

Parting Words

You look better dead than you did alive:
no hundred-proof breath, no smirk, no red eye.
You never shut up, never blushed this pink.
Maybe booze preserves. What's pickled doesn't stink.
Here's a little flask for your pocket.
In cold storage you'll need some tonic
to take the edge off, to keep the shakes at bay,
to laugh at the worms that eat your decay.
I've wished you dead, tried to lose what you lacked.
You snorted all our coke behind my back.
The "Ecstasy" you stole and sold the cops
was caffeine. You couldn't ever stop
devouring prospects and hatching scams.
I could have better spared a better man.

(Last line from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I)


Waiting Room

I have a rash.
What are you in for?
I wish you'd find
whatever's at the bottom
of your bag, whatever
makes you dig through
things you don't take out.
Are you afraid I'll see?
My whole apartment's like that,
all I've been and didn't trash.
You rummage by touch,
as if you could identify
your target by grabbing it.
I may be contagious so I keep
my mitts off the magazines.
Can you tell?
Either you've found the shape
you seek or given up looking.
Now you're pretending to sleep?
Why don't we talk?
Words could air us out.
I scour my mind
for something I knew,
something that fits you.
And the nurse
calls my name.



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