Paper

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered …
-The Odyssey, Homer

I noticed how you tossed it down
this book
the very specific way the pages
floated and slapped
with just a slight disgust
an ugh
from the back of the throat
like youd just given up explaining something to a tradesman
your eyebrows slightly furrowed
as you moved your eyes to the next task

I used to look at your notes as a kid
Take an awe in the power they seemed to hold

Rheems and rheems of hammers
that looked like paper to a child
hammers and concrete trucks and joists and beams
contained all your thoughts and force
contained in your messy
mercurial scrawl
that griffonage
that contained the arms and legs
of all those men
that built all those hospitals
that saved all those lives
ugh

you look silently to the next task
and tell me i can have these pages
with a barely perceptible nod
a slight crinkle of the eyes
as the move off to the horizon

this paper
that you reluctantly give to the table rather than me

this other paper
that brought you to tears
minutes before is now in my hands
covered in other wrigglings
that you dont understand
that you dont want taking your eyes off the horizon
that you say will kill you

“It ll kill me if you dont sign it”
you say, pregnant with so much meaning
your eyes squinting with pain now
like youre looking at the place youll drown yourself
before the cancer has its way

your eyes go from squint to crinkle
and the tears start to fall like the echoes of hammers
and i move to your knee
place my hand on it
wafting slowly over the deck of the boat
and whisper

you turn to the horizon
not able to look me in the eyes
and as if the sea itself filled them
you cry
and the horizon blurs

“I cant take this shit anymore.”
you say, voice creaking like an old boat
as your tongue sticks to the top of your mouth
to stop the air in your lungs
releasing a sob

or a life

you get up awkwardly now
and you stumble because you cant quite see
away from me

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