I sat at your feet;
metaphorically, of course, only metaphorically;
as I remember it, I sat on the couch,
as you, with your strangely lilting voice,
held my hand and walked me through;
the pitiless steps of the reverent ritual.
You were so gentle
as you wrapped the tourniquet around my bicep;
laughed at the expression on my face
pinched the crook of my arm
to bruise and raise a vein.
and as you slid the needle in and we watched the blood
cloud the water inside,
you apologized, profusely,
for the infinitesimal pinprick
that precedes the rapture.
I swore to you,
in that ghastly and gorgeous moment,
this is how it would always be;
that you would be there,
by my side, every time,
to guide me down the path of night.
but like the other oaths that passed between us,
this too, was a hopeful lie.
The day came, as it was
destined to do,
that you were gone;
in the fashion required
for you to get by;
and the pull of oblivion
proved stronger, by far,
than either love or trust or art,
so I took the syringe and
not to need you anymore.
Photograph by Benjamin O’Reilly