from Things I Wrote Before I Died

What I hoped was cancer in my spine grew every time you started a sentence with The weather. It wasn’t cancer, though, that would’ve been too easy. It’s hard to admit that it’s taken three decades to realize that convenience is a drug I could never afford, but I am still young enough to know that nothing can kill me but me, so you were singing at the kitchen sink, slicing Bartlett pears for a salad, and that’s why I lined up a half-dozen bottles of 100-Count Extra Strength Tylenol. As you sliced the pear, you hummed a pop song I remember hearing on the radio. It reminded me of the soundtrack to a car commercial, the tempo picking up as the Lexus IS 300 rounded a sharp curve on a deserted mountain road (text on the bottom of the screen reading PROFESSIONAL DRIVER. CLOSED COURSE. DO NOT ATTEMPT.). It reminded me of something that should’ve been broken before it was ever made. Why stay existing just to fail? If I knew how my mouth worked, I would’ve told the song, I understand. I was you once, and I will never be you again. The bottom of a pill bottle is the most natural thought, and it is there where I realize it’s the haze I will miss not remembering, the clouds dripping to the floor, waking up to the dew on my bedspread, the lack of typos in my heart, the stories of a past that will never be told.

Peter Gabriel can be reached at

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