The Outliers

It’s the families
that get her.
The grief of the ones
who have to live with this
for the rest of their lives.

Somehow,
despite the best efforts
of some really talented people,
her emergency room
is the last place
people see.

Some are ready to go.
They’ve had time
to realize
that even if the alternative
is nothing,
it’s still better than this.

Others are outliers,
the otherwise-healthy
20-somethings
and teens
who should’ve made it.

Whose parents
sit stunned
by the perverted
inversion
of nature.

And she brings
that home with her
some days,
while I try
in my Irish way
to make her
laugh her way
out of it.

I have to find some way
to make the death fall
off of her
before she sleeps.
It’s all I can offer her.

-GD Butler

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