You will care for them when it’s time.
With static eyes, pores firing off sweat,
you’ll milk the globes of blood
dangling like apples under their arms.
You’ll turn the bed into a foam-rubber redoubt,
roll out puppy pads, stroke skin where it’s intact.
You’ll cradle them like grandpa as he withered,
lifting without pulling, patient, strong.
You’ll make broth from whole chicken. You’ll scoop
the cat shit, you’ll wash shirts stiff with plasma.
You’ll squeeze clots from the lines like jelly. You’ll
turn your house to a stall and muck it out,
Patient farmer, and when they’re whole,
devices back in their boxes, the tape stripped
like old wallpaper, the scars gleaming, your back
aching, you’ll forgive their body, and feel
Your own—whole only as a pound of beef
shining behind glass on plastic and air.
Colin Williams (he/they) lives in Pittsburgh and holds an MFA from the University of Florida. His writing has appeared in Hobart and the Northern Appalachia Review, and he covers heavy metal for outlets including Bandcamp and Revolver.