i heard your smile when you told me
“i just want you to die well”
and gave me the hospital’s information 
packet about living wills — smooth shiny
strategically-diverse faces on heavy cardstock
folders you’d handed out all morning
hoping more patients would consider their
own mortality so you aren’t the one 
responsible for deciding strangers’ final breaths
and tubes and wires and heartbeats

you love these embodied individuals, lying
beeping while others buzz above asking
how many wires are too many
how many brainwaves too few
and no one here asked or expected to be
midwives of death, ushering another soul
through such a transition of realms

you smiled because this is important but 
i am young and we are in love and we can
acknowledge our irrational sense of invincibility 
surpassing both experience and statistics — 
you smiled as someone handing over an umbrella 
on a sunny day: take this so it won’t rain

but “i just want you to die well” begins before
hospitalization, intubation — life is just
a journey between maternity ward and morgue 
and the living and the dying twine together, 
inseparably: i love being alive with you
i whisper from the pillow of your bed
i am dying well with you right now

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