A Public Apology

When they told me you were sick

I asked,

"Oh, so does that mean no more playtime?"

I stared your illness in the face,

and smiled with childish innocence

I wondered how many shiny, pink bandaids

it would take to heal your invisible wounds

I wondered how many bowls of her famous soup

mom would have to cook

I wondered when you would be better so we

could go back to playing school

I would teach,

my six year old mouth rattling off facts

about butterflies and the sky and 

everything else that crossed my mind,

and you would listen

hang on every word I said

as though they meant something marvelous

just like old times

I wanted you to get better.


When we walked through grocery stores

I noticed people staring

but I was taught that staring was rude 

and maybe if people stopped staring

God would too

but they didn’t and neither did He,

stared right into my six year old eyes

still hazed with the newness of life

and snatched you from me.


When they pulled me out of school

I was in the middle of first grade nap time

pallets of blankets and pillows

warm and snuggly just like your house

warm August air blowing

the green leaves of the magnolia trees

their white flowers just beginning to bud

I wanted to stop and play outside

I wanted you to get better.


When they pulled me from your hospital suite

I was too confused to know

what was going on, I knew that 

I wanted you to come with me but

you were under mountains of blankets and sheets

mummified forever inside my heart,

I wanted to tell you that I loved you

but you couldn't hear me,

I wanted to stop the pounding behind my ears,

the tears flowing freely from my eyes,

I wanted you to get better.


When they told me I was sick

I did not want to get better

I wanted to take my illness like a big pill

swallow it down

never to be seen again.

I wanted to end it on my own terms

I ran four traffic lights daily

with the hope that a red semi-truck would

run that light, smash into the driver's side, 

twisted metal engulfed in burning embers,

end it all right then and there,


I wanted my illness years before,

when you had yours

so I could fight for you

so I could fight for us

I wasn't there and

now you aren’t.


I really am sorry that

you couldn't stay longer

but you taught me 

life is a like a sleepover

we all have to go home at some point,

whether it be eight in the morning

or two in the afternoon. 


When they released me from the hospital,

I felt undeserving, I needed ‘DO NOT RESUSCITATE’

engraved into my flesh 

just in case

I cheated death once again,

but you were still an omnipresent ghost

creeping through the channels of my mind


When they ask me why,

I think that it’s

not for my sake, but 

for yours

you are in me


I feel you when I haphazardly

scribble down

words just like this

I feel your breath in my bones

I hear you speak in every crack 

of my knuckles

your heartbeat is engraved 

into my palms


When they ask me why 

I say that

I’m not sure, that

I don’t know


I do know

that I am sorry

because I saved myself

instead of saving you.






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