The Rest of Stephen


poem by Daniel D’Angelo


His dying words were not dying or dead.
They were still and alive. They were:

My clothes are warm. My skin is
good. My heart is still in the office.

I’m doing all right. While dying, he
coughed. Sweat kind of broke out

of his head and swam around his face
surface, he narrated himself. His friends,

standing over him, said they loved
him. He said, thanks you’re great. I’m still

dying I think. He had been shot and stabbed
and yelled at hundreds of times. His last words,

as they came out, said We’ll miss each other.
Generally, all of his body parts failed

to stay integrated: they floated off and away.
He died and his friends peeled away from him

like bananas, concealing an inner pallor. Later, they therapied.
I wrapped his dying words in a blanket

and took them home. I didn’t really sleep
ever again. It’s like when you have kids,

and then it turns out your kids are immortal,
but they are vincible. They don’t end.