He wanted to be an organ donor.
So I sat with his parents through
the excruciating phone call.
We’d left his blue and bloated body
at the hospital, a smear of holy oil on his forehead
Now here, around the kitchen table
we discuss that body’s 22-year-old parts:
heart valves, eye lenses,
bones, tendons, skin,
the parts of a drug addict deemed useful
to a wider society
still battling its injuries and diseases
unlike this until-lately child
stone-still on the hospital gurney
blood dried and crusted in the corner
of his open mouth.
His fight is over.
His body bound and burdened no longer
by the quick, hot high
With flickering hope for the 150
he could potentially help,
we endure the painful questions about needle use,
sexual habits, illegal escapes of choice,
(the answer is 10 days)
47 minutes later the final word is:
But I’m Sorry.
Behind bars more than 72 hours,
This body is disqualified.
And the mother who bore its fragile, emerging frame
within, later upon, her own,
who poured out blood, water and milk
to build a growing bundle of valves,
lenses, bone and skin
not so very long ago,
who cradled his infant form in her arms to nurse him,
closes her eyes to speak:
“They can’t use it.”
“They can’t use any of it.”