Trembling, he sits and waits for the news.

Something terrible happened.

His mother had called him in the middle

Of a chemistry test,

His favorite class.

“Tyler,” she had said

“I need you, come home.”

He had never heard such sorrow

Soaked into her voice

Like water to an overwrought sponge.

It leaked from her,

Dripped from every word

How chilling it was to him to hear those words,

The last words.


He sat there in the ER

Trying not to drown in his confusion

And sorrow.

It took so much energy out of him

Yet he sunk further and further

Into the depths of a metaphysical

Creation of Poseidon’s vast oceans.

A drowned man’s dying breath

Couldn’t compare to the pain he felt,

Couldn’t compare to the oxygen he lacked,

The fear that threatened

To pull his heart from his chest.

A force that squeezed so tightly

He desperately looked around

For a single air bubble to breathe in,

A sliver of hope that could save a life.


A lone high-shrilled beep

And it was all over.

White lab coat walking over

The sterility of his hands

Like the bleached bones of Death.


Meaningless words said over and over

To hundreds of thousands daily.

He stared at his own hands

That still twitched with the answers

To his chemistry test.

Hands that had only known a world

Of education now squeezing

Each other tighter and tighter

As if the pain could bring his mother

Back to him.


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