on cleaning out my closet
the wardrobe cannot contain the garden she planted on her body –
each cactus hair the result of kind words and a gently buried seedling,
forested on impulse.
i comb through the things she used to love – those daisy dresses, the herbal robes –
i realize now i am allergic to pollen, or thyme,
and i think that’s why she ate benadryl like candy,
and I think that’s why i am a dentist clutching a mouth full of rotting teeth,
the mouth of someone who chewed too much benadryl and forgot to brush,
the mouth of someone too afraid to smile
(and so had never noticed).
and once i remove the ones too full of holes to be of use to anybody,
the rest are too big to fit,
too crooked for such a polite mouth,
too full of quiet cancer.
and now i have no mask to wear besides her corpse,
heavy and bloated,
too full of holes to be of use to anybody.