He stands beneath the chemical chandelier
anxiously waiting for it to spray its toxic light
upon his upturned face. He grins with anticipation.
His skin is scarred with acid, pocked
with tiny burns. Confetti spills from
the hole in his forehead. He keeps poking at it,
then cursing himself for his weakness.
His veins twitch and jump, his chest knocks and rattles
like a bucketful of ping pong balls. His hands
fell off and the doctors sewed them back on
the wrong wrist; now they crawl of their own accord
across his body, hairy tarantulas he does his best
to ignore. He looks at the window
at the things dragging themselves through the ash.
The air is sour cream.
He gags on mouthfuls of the wet, gloppy fur
that sprouts from his tongue. His teeth glow
in the dark. His underpants are stained
with leaking boron. A week from now,
he will write his goodbye note in lipstick
on the floor of the guinea pig cage,
then cover it over with cedar chips, breathing deep
the sharp, clean smell of the shavings before
crossing the room to check the levels
one last time.