To a Dying Friend

“as old as old is able
to be and be there still”
Anne Sexton

You say, I was so beautiful once
but I never knew that ancient beauty
only this body like a forest fire
like a field of bones
its boundaries impossible
to distinguish from the bed sheet.

You say, I wish they’d let me die
in my red coat
but no, that thin blue robe is home.

You say, We are not really
here, in this now
and, true, together we are Janus.

You say, Tell me stories
I give you your words
a fashionista on a Vespa teasing dreams
and gas money out of officers
a fabric stitcher stitching knowing gods
are in her needle
a friend asking for a final sip
of whisky from my flask.

You say, Let us now drink
that great unknown
yes, here’s to all those stories never told.

Dominik Parisien

Dominik Parisien is the co-editor, with Navah Wolfe, of the forthcoming Robots vs Fairies, and The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, which won the Shirley Jackson Award and was a finalist for the World Fantasy award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Locus Award. He also edited the Aurora Award-nominated Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Uncanny MagazineStrange HorizonsExile: The Literary QuarterlyThose Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories, as well as other magazines and anthologies. He is a disabled, French Canadian living in Toronto.

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