When your mother must visit the hospital,
when medicine pumps mercury-bright into her chest,
you wait downstairs and enjoy complimentary wifi.
Here the sick wait to die &
their family members check email.

What ruin will you inherit?
Your father’s fat-swaddled heart,
your mother’s sadness?
Everything you will ever become has been passed
down in blood, &
there remain too many ways your body
seeks to salve or swallow itself whole.

Save your body from its excess.
Rub cream into belly’s stretchmarks.
Drink enough water for once.
Wake with a wet mouth.
Donate blood praline-sweet &
fall asleep in the arms of someone
who remembers your name.

When your skin dusts & your organs
explode into confetti storms,
there’s something
left to celebrate.
You’ve never attended a funeral
not also a homecoming.
Hope someone will save you.
Hope someone will save you
the last of the champagne.


Derek Berry is the author of forthcoming poetry chapbook Good Ghost: Alive & Intact (2018) and the novel Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (2016).  Their previous work has appeared or is forthcoming in BOAAT Journal, Glint Journal, Lemonstar Magazine, Rabid Oak, and other journals.