Poetry & Prose

Keep Doing It Until We Are Dead


Do not drink if seal is broken or if bottle shows evidence of tampering.

I drank it anyway, the store-bought orange juice. Then I offered you some.

What do I want? Will it be much better if you die too?

Yes, I suppose it will be.

Then we can high-five at small victories in the ICU and compete for the nurse’s affections. It’s well known that a nurse’s affections wither if not stoked often and ardently by opposing flames. Perhaps you will drop something, a pencil or a catheter accessory, from your bedside and the nurse will have to bend over to pick it up, and when you look over at me, I will be grinning lewdly or making a feeble humping motion beneath my blankets, and you will smile wanly and think about how the feeble humping motion is both triumphant and sad considering my condition. Then I will patiently wait for up to a minute before accidentally dropping something from my bedside and the nurse will bend halfway down, not suspecting a thing, until she catches a glimpse of you painfully winding up for a hump from the corner of her eye and she will bolt back up in a blush of realization. Then she will have both hands on her hips and an amused-in-spite-of-herself expression that seems to say, “You boys are incorrigible,” and we will all laugh, but then the air in the room will darken and constrict, and our happy/horny laughter will fall off into a sort of hollow/melancholy laughter because we will all remember that we are really going to die from our incurable disease and there’s nothing the young nurse or her accommodating butt can do about it, even though she secretly wishes that her bending over and showing her butt could help us to survive and that’s why she will silently vow to keep doing it until we are dead.

After you drank it, the orange juice, maybe tainted with hobo spit or a new kind of anthrax, you said thank you. I said you’re welcome. I threw the rest away.

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