he stops breathing

a cloud of nightmare swarms around my head

creating moments so unreal and silent

the loudest silence i’ve ever heard

3 hours after falling asleep, i wake up

choking on truth

reality squirming into every pore

i cry and whimper, hard

i remember the way he answered the phone

i remember the poster on his door with the chimpanzee that said, “I am old. Please hug me.”

and i get frustrated at a little pom-pom creature i’m trying to glue together

his legs won’t stay on

he keeps falling apart

i remember sitting in his hot car, because he was always cold, and i listened to his stories, sweating and wishing for freedom from the heat, but not wanting to leave until the story was over

even after he couldn’t drive anymore, he still told me his stories

the names were often wrong

the events were often scrambled

but it didn’t matter

i knew what he meant

now i drive his car

the unbearable heat is gone

but the stories still remain

sometimes i feel numb

sometimes i feel everything

i don’t know which feels worse