written by Johnny Lee Chapman, III.

Photo by Christian Benoit.

I have chased the sunset for years

But none shine like this snapshot

The last one we shared.

We watched, together...sort of.

Me, from the roof of the hospital

You, from the room four stories below

On the floor where most stories end.

The peeking rays resemble wisps of a weeping God

Prismic tears for points of view

Refracting the regrets I had to bury

With you.

I laid to rest our future

Accepting the eternal night and

The brutal truth that next time I saw your body would be in a box too expensive

At a funeral where midnight replaced my family’s faces.

Night always follows after the light fades

After the conclusion we wrote together

In that sterile prison

After I hugged you so tight

Afraid that my trembling arms

Wouldn’t wrap all the way around wasting body

Or I’d fail to express my emotions.

Words were exchanged while we embraced

You whispered to me-probably only to me-

That you were scared. scared.

So scared to meet the end

To leave these dreams, and your daughter

In another’s hands. I cried “I know...”

But how could I?

I did not have a meet n greet with death

Only days after a new year.

All I knew was that this was it.

That this was our story’s end

And I knew that I wasn’t ready to dip

Into the darkness of grief and depression.

So I ran.

I ran from the room

Ran up four flights of stairs

Snapping photos of every detail

Like the caution stickers

The valves on the pressurized pipes ready to burst,

and the ivy clawing up the hospital wall

Clinging to durable surfaces;

Like my roots wrapping around you.

I ran to the roof in pursuit of hope

Removed my cracked phone

And captured the essence of an ending.

Chasing the sunset because I knew

This was the last light

We would share together.

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