The night you died
I held my breath in your honor
or in anger
I can’t exactly remember, only
a dropping of the gut, the swollen amalgamation of numb and comprehension and
more confusion than I have ever swallowed whole before

I hope you cursed yourself when you realized what you did
your hand closing is a picture I played a million times in my head
your eyes rolling back is one I tried not to but
every time my eyelids met
I saw yours gasping for air

Your mother, a glass vase splitting on hardwood floor
I can promise you she is still stepping on your pieces
the truth is I know you never meant to cause damage
the breaking is just what happens when so much is left behind

When the rabbi said your name
I thought about laughing, how
you certainly would be at the seriousness of it all
the level of despondence floating
in the room
the oxygen, thick in its lack of,
a density unlike any other

I remembered the time we got high on one of the holiest days of the year
I thought maybe this
is god playing a joke on us
I thought maybe this is
just his sick revenge, an attempt at humor but
there was nothing funny about your leaving

For the first few months
losing you was drowning every night in my sleep
and waking up alive the next morning
friends asked what it’s like
to have this gap of almost stretching inside of me
I asked if they had ever accidentally touched something hot
and to recall how it felt when the burn started setting on their skin

Most days I miss you without trying
some days I don’t think about you at all
there is a life that is full without your being in it but
it isn’t mine to call my own
I am forgetting your laugh like a song whose words I can’t remember

Today is your 22nd birthday,
facebook had to tell me
there are no shots being taken and nobody is making a cake
Today you would have been another year older
I wish you could have stayed to be it

I didn’t cry at your funeral
I didn’t cry while writing this
I didn’t cry for you
I still don’t know how
I still don’t know how to.

-from the one who loved you

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