From the well of my bunk, I watch you fall. You do not stir when I call or scratch at the lice that infect us all. The cold-booted guard gives you a little kick. A dirge plays on my frozen lips. Water and dark earth, to which we return; that’s what you sound like, dragged from the room.
Three days pass without you here. The typhus unfurls its crimson flowers. I try to speak but find I have no mouth. I’m a black dog, muzzled. To say ‘heart’ is unheard of.
Each night I climb a few more rungs up the ladder out of myself, into the attic where we hid once, quiet as bones. The sky is improbably blue. I am rising like smoke towards you.