Michael Netter, Regeneration, 2016. Mixed media on canvas, 48 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist. Via Dart International Magazine

Poet: Maryan Yusuf

See I know death intimately.
Sometimes she arrives unannounced
Catches me off guard.
But she’s usually kinder then.
Doesn’t ask for much.
Only for a place to lay her head.
She tries to stay out of your way, but it’s hard not to meet her in your studio flat.
It’s when she leaves you a memo that she’s in a bad way.
She comes in a storm, wrecking your things, and makes a home in your belly.
She doesn’t mean to be ruthless, but she hardly gives you any head space.
She wakes you at night for your warm spot on the bed
She leaves you tossing and turning all night feeling the cold in your bones.

She tells your neighbors and friends that she’s here for a while.
Then they start to visit her.
You don’t mean to be rude,
To be short.
But it’s crowded in your heart,
and you can’t say that.
It’s rude to turn away guests,
but your soul feels stretched like the shadow beneath your feet.
It’s when your heavy,
carrying all the sorrow she left.
Your back is straining from the bending,
And tending to company that she leaves

Leaving all of her things.
Her broken watch.
Ticking haphazardly.
Stuck between 11:59 pm and midnight.
She doesn’t leave a note or say goodbye.
You sit, crowded,
in a home that’s empty.
Nothing is yours anymore.
Not the clothes in your closet.
Not the toothbrush on the counter.
Not the black shoes at the door.
You wonder how a place can be so full of things
but still, echo your steps.
Wary, and tired you sleep cuddled at the feet of a heater.
Death, it seems had taken the bed and all the peace with her.