Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-nine
Winter 2015
Chloe Firetto-Toomey

I left dad arched over your body counting shallow breaths–
I wonder if you’re ghosting the top of the hospital suite
or here with me, and the flock of ibises honking, skewering the muddy earth.
Perhaps you are just sleeping on an ocean floor.
Doc says we almost lost you again
this morning; your brain decided to jellybean
and muscles stiffened and jived
then resumed benthic sleep.
I wanted to joke; at least you have a brain
or, who’s down to score some heroin?
I never know what to say but am so good
at sobbing in bathroom stalls.
Flowers not permitted but friends bundle your bedside,
ebb beyond nylon tapestries in that stark corridor.
I’m sure you’d be pissed to know you have an audience
studying your beach ball head, listless tongue taped to your cheek.
Mom let them in, she scrapbooks each day with photos of you
and bible verses, says you’ve come back twice
God isn’t ready for you yet.
The ER Doc spent three hours shocking organs,
plumbing puke from pipes–
he didn’t think you’d last the night,
that was a month ago.
I wandered bayside to pray
but I never pray.
Perched beneath a banyan tree shadowing the wake.
A monarch butterfly lands on a hanging tendril,
sacred geometrics on tracing-paper wings–
a messenger telling me you’ll be ok?
The night nurse reassures
your heart is strong.
Grandpa Bob says you’re his favorite grandchild.
Grandma called to say
you’ll be a burden to society if you ever wake up–
we’ve always known she’s a bitch.
An ibis prunes its angel wings
and I can’t stop talking to the void–
please wake up.
You’ll have no memory of it.
Only the scrapbook,
this poem.

About Chloe Firetto-Toomey

Previous Poem | Next Poem