Henry Israeli Reflections at the End

and when they tore out your teeth no one cried

and when they removed half your organs no one cried

and when your veins came to the surface

swollen and pock marked, they dug still deeper into your flesh

and oh how they courted you, pretending to care

as you lay in your hospice bed

but under it all dreaming of what you would leave them

but you‘ll leave them nothing and were trying to tell them all along

that nothing comes from nothing

so they were nothing without you

but they laughed because they’d heard that a million times before

and cared nothing for false flattery

for you always managed to keep giving and giving

even after you lost the ability to feel pleasure

and grumbled and vomited and bled on the inside too

while you kept trying to explain how you were still young

as Keats in his little efficiency off the Spanish steps in Rome

coughing delicate petals of blood into a kerchief

while begging his doctor for just a drop of laudanum

to numb his lungs that hung like tattered rags

and still dreaming all the while of truth and beauty,

beauty and truth

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