Liver cancer.

He waited for the count to go down (some count it was)
and every time it didn’t
—implying he was getting worse

he broke the fast and
went and got drunk

there just wasn’t much time left anyway
so why bother

He lived in an affluent area
but in the oldest and worst apartment
anyone could live in
with a green and brown wallpaper of


but it has value, he said
and one day, my Lara will be able to
get something out of it.

When he would die one day
he told me, he wanted to make a noble
and dignified

and in the meantime
he would write notes to Lara
so that when she would grow into
a young lady, she would read them and
remember him

On those evenings when the laboratory report
gave bad tidings
and he’d start drinking, he’d tell me about
his feats, travelling as a stowaway
to Switzerland
to Lugano, Lucerne, Geneva and Bern
busking on the streets
collecting money in a cap

which is not so common a thing for us

and then in the middle of all that

he told me how he despised his
boss’s brother

the stingy bastard, he said,
the one who was all about cutting costs
and employee benefits
and making a bonus look like one

when it really wasn’t

in those moments, he cursed his boss’s
brother who had deprived him of
the chance

to save for Lara

then he’d philosophise about the
bitterness of stout beer, and relate it to his
existence, and how he had endured
and enjoyed

And then one day, it is said that

he was doing so bad
he dropped Lara off to school, and drove
to the hospital, and admitted


And it is said that he was in the ICU, semi
suffering the last stages of cancer

convulsive fits, and the inability
to control his limbs

And it is said that the last person to see
in that state


his boss’s brother

who looked on

and on

while he writhed