Think of the Children

Volcanic eructations
an inverted geyser
clogged with mud
erupts in belching splutters
but without the solid mass of relief

this is how life ends, he thinks
his legs lose blood flow
a fast tingle of pins
perspiration runs
rivulets propelled by gravity
down neck and chest
humidity from the morning’s shower
still hangs close
the exhaust fan overhead
rattles alarmingly of failure
of man and machine
the tank behind his back
gurgles endlessly
never filling fully
as the fluorescent above
hums and gutters
in the mirror
his sweat sheened face
stares back at him
sickly-skinned, gray-eyed
he shivers
arms wrapped around the waste bin
crumpled tissues within
soaked in bile
and semi-digested saltines
old man, he thinks
this is death
this is its arrival
the knock at the door unanswered
this is the calling card left behind
he extends a hand to the floor
to the left of the toilet
raises the bottle
gets another good swallow in
of Clan MacGregor
he can’t give up
just because
the chips are down
what kind of example
would that set
for his kids

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