Substance

by Christopher Raley

 

“Thin and sort of stretched like butter
scrapped over too much bread.”  Tolkien
might have known more than he let on.

 

There are days.  Roof of mouth dry,
gums pasty.  Face like age pulling
down hollow bone in a matter of hours.

 

And through it all, there you are
looking at yourself in the mirror
like a ghost walking yet in skin.

 

There are pills for keeping you down,
coffee for pumping you up,
but nothing like all these in single yellow oval.

 

You can squeeze it between your fingers
with everything you have left, but never
will you change its substance like those final moments

 

when it presses on yours.
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