Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-nine
Winter 2015
Trying On Sickness
Kelly Lorraine Andrews

When I had bronchitis the nurse brought a nebulizer asked
if I was familiar with breathing treatments I said yes my father wrapped
my lips around the plastic mouthpiece leaned forward toward a mirror
on the wall who did I look like myself or him. I try on sickness
think about how traumatic it would be to lose my hair the longest
it has been in ten years and would I quit my job read books
in the oncology center while the chemo dripped. I never sat
with him once but I saw the IV bag on Breaking Bad.
Someone told me it’s not normal to fantasize about death but
some days it’s all I think about. I just remembered in a dream
a video surfaced that was of my father after he died his body
on the bed not moving and I gave my VCR to the goodwill
months ago no matter it was supposed to be a dream
about him mourning his father but it’s hard to make sense
of death. In real life I was there with his body sat on the floor
looked at it for hours until the men came in a van late at night
in January near Erie, Pa, roads covered in snow. A hospice nurse
smoked cigarettes with my sister and me in the basement I couldn’t be
in the room when they zipped him up but I stood a room away
could hear the sound of the black bag. They carried him down
icy steps I packed sweat pants and my toothbrush and my mother
and I drove away from the house my sisters went home to husbands.
We don’t talk about him now enough time has passed that grief
is a red house we drive by on holidays the steep driveway slicked.

About Kelly Lorraine Andrews

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