I’m tired of being the empath.
So much hurt.
So many days without sleep
without a warm bowl of rice
a soft body
a kind word. I’m tired.
It’s your turn now.
Take my black cloak
my blankets and pillows.
They will help a little when the pain
makes you sick
when the body is too heavy to move.
It’s time I visit the bleak red desert
the lizards and rattlesnakes
rabbits and and bats and prickly things.
I’ll bring my bengal tiger along.
My quiet companion.
I’ll walk with him
into the ancient red rocks of Southern Utah.
We’ll lie down together in a cool alcove
and fall asleep, my face buried
into the copper froth of his neck
his paw like a heavy pillow over my ear.
It’s your turn
to feed the battered cats
to be the weeping rocking choking child.
Take it from me. Just for a while.
I am leaving with my tiger into the narrow
hallways of Zions Canyon to sleep
the good sleep no one wants to come back from.