NOTICE: You are currently viewing an ARCHIVED version of the Waccamaw. Visit the redesigned site.

The Hard Way

                                    Scott Owens

I want to take a long time
to die, like a seal on a beach
in California, each rib showing
through skin grown thin, not welcoming
water or birds, but fighting
to keep my head up, teeth bared.

The summer you gave in to bloated skin,
shame, anger, calamity of living
with a woman who always wanted too much,
I decided I’d never make it easy
on anyone. Pen in hand, arthritic
and tight as a claw, eyes refusing
to close, teeth clenched on anything
that rose, unshaven, smelling of piss,
fighting for one more step, one more breath.

I want to sit at my desk
and write down the last thing
I see in stubborn and gorgeous detail,
the last pain I feel, the last
conscious thought, and then one more.

Copyright 2017 Waccamaw. All reprint rights reserved by authors.