the shadows go their way.

i don’t know what to tell acquaintances when they ask about my mother. i mean, when a neighbor shouts from their driveway while you’re taking the garbage to the curb, can you say anything other then, oh, she’s doing okay? even when they continue to look at you, waiting for more information, decorum probably dictates that you nod a few times as you utter a cliche like we have to take each day as it comes.

at any rate, you cannot tell them the truth. you cannot say that earlier you kissed her lips, and, for the rest of the day, a pungent smell lingers regardless of the number of times you bathe. it hangs over you like a cloud, following you into your car, making itself known in line at the grocery store or while watching a movie with your sister or while having sex with your girlfriend. you don’t want to acknowledge its presence, but that is impossible, as your pores seem to secrete it. it is the scent of decay.


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