The Last Drag

My hair askew with
that lopsided look you get
sleeping in a chair
in a hospital, the copy of Isabel Allende’s Zorro
fallen to the floor.
He had woken up before me, humming to the
drip of morphine,
crumbs of the Nells on the white sheet
scenting the room in licorice.
He pointed to the tin his sister sent:
“You’d think on my deathbed
she could bake them from scratch.”

A nurse walked in with marigolds,
walked out with a bedpan.

Like thieves we unplugged each tube
Each canula and
I lifted his ninety-eight pounds into a wheelchair.
We scurried down the aisle and out to sky.
From underneath his gown came
one last secret Marlboro.
Three tries to light it.
We sat with the sweetbitter smoke of cigarette curling
into the fog around Mount Sutro, ashes turning into
dust of angels
dust of devils
dust of…

January 24th, the Feast of Saint Timothy, the Patron Saint of AIDS victims

by Kevin Thaddeus FisherPaulson

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