portion of the artwork for Caleb Knight's poetry

Dying Is More Intimate Than a Blowjob
Caleb Knight

for Phill

I.

We are lying on the floor holding hands,
Scooby Doo reruns playing on TV,

which does not detract from the solemnity
with which I tell you I’m going to die,

I took too many, some going up,
others going down, and I need you

to stay awake with me. If I close
my eyes and succumb to this

drink-stained, weed-crumb carpet,
I’m afraid I’ll become a chalk outline,

another mystery for the gang to solve,
though all they’ll need is a toxicologist.

Why are we living like this,
I think; why am I dying like this?

Your hand is soft as you hold me,
you whistle slightly when you slur.

I won’t suck your dick for many years,
but this is much more intimate.

You are holding me while I die.


II.

Of course I would write a poem about you
and not let you speak.

It’s moments like these that killed us,
how I struck your cheek

when you came to drive me home
after I’d gotten too drunk at

where was it? Applebee’s?
Chili’s? Everywhere?

How I left right after the Valentine’s
wine when we finally kissed.

You held me while I was dying
and when I survived, I left.


III.

How far do poems reach?
From New York to Detroit?

Into the past, into the smoke
-stained walls, tattered couch

living room we shared?
Remember they remodeled

our kitchen right under our noses?
We were too drunk to notice.

I don’t know why this seems important,
but it does,

like if they can remodel our home around us
maybe we can remodel ourselves?

And I keep thinking,
if I had died that night

while you held my hand
on our poor, abused floor

I wouldn’t have killed us.
Oh god, the things

I wouldn’t have done.
I guess getting sober is one of them.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 59 | Spring/Summer 2022