Cotard’s Delusion

"Old Man" by Ryan Trombley
“Old Man” by Ryan Trombley

The night-cut lilacs have wilted in their glass
jar by morning. Dried, the florets fall and light
bends through the glass, grotesque, like a face
bent to breaking or a secret splayed open
at the seams of a wide black mouth. Only
the crowns remain budded, lush, a bouquet
of teeth gleaming bright in a smile, as if to say:
my body is a lie, my body will fail me; I know
the feeling. Once, my limbs refused cooperation;
once my skin became a skein of welts; once my brain
rebelled, taught me to believe I was already dead—
the world assumed a pallor, a draped-in-gray sheen
and not even the lilacs could wilt enough to mourn me.


by Elisa Karbin