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he’s breathing,

his heart is beating.

gratitude for that.

but …

starvation pulls his skin thin,

bones carve their way out.

liquid nutrients go down

to come back up. choking.

gasping. eyes can close

but body can’t sleep.

life is here but life is cheap.

he’s breathing,

his heart is beating.

gratitude for that.

final moments, final words.

final strands of hope.

but …

too tired, too weak

to walk the length of the coffee table.

the things he used to love,

he doesn’t love anymore.

raspy voice. throat sore.

the symptoms of a man

diagnosed with death.

he’s breathing,

his heart is beating.

gratitude for that.

but …

“this isn’t living,”

he shakes his head,

as tears stream from my heart.

-Allison Ryder