i do not want to wait until it’s too late
by Fransivan MacKenzie
the strands of your hair on the bathroom tiles aren’t sketching defeat. that’s you spitting disease in the face with another day you’ve woken up to. that’s you singing to the graveyard, a little out of tune: not today, honey. not today. you still have stray cats to feed as the neighbors gossip about what they deem your eerie hobby. you still have a nineteen-year-old to hold through night terrors she won’t talk about in the morning. you still have way too many gracious steps to bless the floorboards with. when the dawn seizes you out of bed, the sun watches you kick your lupus in the ass. and i wonder if you even know that. mom, i see how when your bones ache, you retaliate by attending to the dirty sink anyway. i hear how when the mattress calls you in the afternoon, you retort: wrong number through gritted teeth. i love how your laughter shatters the dead air whenever stupendous memes flash on your phone. mom, i witness you pray when you think i’m already fast asleep. and i, too, believe that torched chapels are still kingdoms of hope. i, too, believe that there is a realm where we don’t have to shiver at the thought of hospital rooms. i, too, am fearful so you won’t have to be alone. while we’re still here, though. i want you to know that even when the dinner is late and dad doesn’t always understand, i do. even if our mouths have talons when we fight, no one can stop the bleeding like you. mom, please turn away from the cracked mirror and look into my eyes instead. see how i would trade everything not to lose you. see how even with your sunken eyes, chapped lips, and thinning crown of hair, how beautiful you are. how brave. see how much i love you, mommy. i love you and i am so afraid.