The night we slept together in the way older men
would call it sleeping together, not really sleeping
or even being together but rather being held down,
there were mothers on the other side of the world
who slept with their infants and rolled over
and awoke to a house that now housed more
than just two parents and a child,
now also a fourth roommate
of grief, now also an uninvited visitor.
At each end of a chromosome there is a telomere
and the telomere protects the DNA,
and the protection protects our aging.
At each end of my life and that mother’s life, that night,
the telomere drew away,
long before it was meant to.
There is a name for the division of cells, one specific name,
but several thousand for dark,
the kind of dark we both fumbled through
as she watched the end of someone else’s life
and I watched the end of mine.
Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently working as an educator on domestic violence in Minnesota. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more.