Dimming Lights

            A bar in late July

            portends my thinning life,

and summons forth the marching swarth—a man that’s soon to die.

 

            I disguise disease and smile,

            veil the narrowing aisles,

closing in as I attend to the night’s ephemeral wiles.

 

            We raise our glasses high,

            to health, “Salud!” we cry,

and prattle on some merry song, confer and testify.

 

            And when my future’s told

            by friends, “it’s marigold!”

Bright unlike the dimming lights—their vision oversold.

 

            For this malady balloons

            my veins to breach and bloom,

ripe for prick from needle’s tip, in time’s indifferent loom.

 

            Then a whisper grinds my ear,

            and stokes my waning fear,

a hissing tone like chalk to stone, its message ringing clear:

 

            “Alleviate, imbibe,

            Anesthetize, deny,

Carve away some fleeting peace—exhilarate, then die.”

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© 2020 Joshua Aaron Crook