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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Cyanide Gas – No, Sarin

Updated: 5 days ago

My Mother's mind is a wilderness of confusion

She is lost, stumbling over jagged rocks, and finding no clearing from among the crowded, skeletal trees

No breadcrumbs lie before her with whispered promises to lead her back home

It’s getting dark and the wolves are howling –

they are fast approaching, saliva dripping from their hungry mouths

Within my hands is a basket, brilliant and blossoming –

filled with pretty flowers:

roses, dandelions, and lilacs

and offerings of unconditional and sempiternal love –

But - time is running out and the flowers in the basket will soon begin to wither


Cyanide gas – no, sarin – no, tetrodotoxin – no, sarin -

like was used on the Tokyo subway trains in 1995

I’m sitting, reluctantly and awkwardly, in a corner of the Internet that can’t be legal

Chat room conversations are scrubbed within seconds – speak and read quickly

- Compound 1080 with an immediate muscle relaxer and coma-inducer

Pentobarbital -

the pink liquid in the syringe given to sickly animals at the vet

There must be no pain – no pain at all – no pain – no pain

- My computer screen glows before me in a darkened room –

the only sound is my fingertips on the keyboard, searching for the unthinkable

The temperature is uncomfortable -

and I feel myself emotionally dying – slowly

I place a finger over my lips and shake my head

And speak, “shhhhh”, softly and gently -

While looking at myself within the bathroom mirror

My reflection is shadowed - and I cannot tell if I am angel or monster


June 14th, 2018

The chairs within Jason’s Deli are hard and I cannot sit still

My mother and father sit across from me –

my sister beside me

(the conversation must remain happy, my dad tells us –

so my mother doesn’t begin screaming again) – we just calmed her down

Dementia is a demon – it takes, and it takes, and it steals, and it devours, and it claws, and it strips a person of their dignity and pride – and it eats away memories

until there is little or nothing remaining on the plate

“I love you so much, mom – and it’s so good to see you”, I speak

It has been 5 years – and before that it had been 8

The customer service cashier looks at us – at our table, occasionally

She looks worried and I understand. I occasionally look at her and smile

She doesn’t believe my smile – but I’m confident we are communicating

The woman replacing the salad bowls at the end of the counter looks nervous

She gets it – I can tell – as she wells up and quickly walks to the back room

I look at my mother and pause

She sits in a wheelchair – a manual one – not an electric

Her dress is slightly twisted and disheveled –

and I don’t know whether to fix it or not, so I remain in my seat

My mother knows who I am – but recognizes nobody else at the table

And I know this because she is suddenly frightened and frantic

She looks in my direction for comfort

“I’m here mom, I’m here”.

I reach my hand across the table – and she, instinctively, takes it

Then -

She doesn’t know which side of the fork to eat with – so my dad assists her

And she does it reluctantly because she doesn’t know who he is

And I know this is true because she says it out loud

to all of us and she says it loudly

She then turns to me,

“You’re my son”, my mother whispers

– I nod my head up and down

And can say no words in response

As I feel myself emotionally dying - slowly

“Mom, I’m here. I’m your son and I love you so very much”

“I love you too”, she gets out, smiling genuinely

There are no more salad bowls at the end of the counter

and absolutely nobody in all directions fucking cares


Trash cans are receptacles for waste, garbage, and questionable ideas

At Jason’s Deli, I throw away the blueprint – the plan and the directions - with the food I didn’t eat

– on our way out the door -

“Mom”, I speak aloud in my own head –

“I just can’t – I love you and know you are miserable –

You are miserable all the time

Every day - every minute – and for every confusing and agonizing second

and I just can’t”

And because of this decision – she suffered for 2 ½ more years

Every day – every minute – and for every confusing and agonizing second


Mother, mom –

“I am so sorry” - tears falling from my hysterical eyes, forever

I just couldn’t

I just couldn’t

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