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Death tastes like this:
the wood varnish of the door you have closed
copper sparking off your teeth
a mouthful of gravel from the first time you fell
cold snow that tastes like nothing at all.
a mouthful of rain, iron against the tongue
your breath burning in the back of your throat as you run
the sweat of your endless pain.
the dust of the Desert where you can never return
and the smell of the sea you will never sail again . . .

Death smells like this:
ash and burned hair, something you call charcoal,
his cologne, the warm, weak tea he loved to drink.
electricity arcing across your fingertips as you touch steel
like your heart skipping when his gaze touches you.
fire: burning oxygen, boiling wine
and incense you do not remember lighting.
blood of course; yours and his mingling
until you don't know whose is whose
until there is only one body, with too many bones, some outside
and you must find a way to put it back together
with parts of yourself you only just killed.

Death looks like this:
his eyes, a different color, looking back from your reflection
in a face neither of you recognize
though only you can remember what faces you used to have.
everything being too small, too close to the ground
awkwardly shaped for some other occupant with a different name
and a closet with too much burgundy and not enough gray.
a white-walled room, a skinny brown desk, a green quilt
a little window that does not look out towards the sea.
the battered black upright that plays songs from the motherland
when you close your eyes and your hands move without thinking.
the stars, so cold, so distant, so unknowing
who do not acknowledge you when you call to them.
seeing nothing, when you close your eyes
except the other man who is now also yourself.

 




Lev Mirov is a doctoral student in Tolkien Studies by day, and a novelist, poet, and medievalist by night. He has an MFA in crip ballet and decolonial theory, and lives on Piscataway lands with his husband Aleksei Valentìn. Their alternate histories, The Faerie States and The Peninsular Kingdoms, are Lev's passion. Follow him on Twitter @thelionmachine or explore further at patreon.com/levandalekseicreate.
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