This isn’t helping, I can tell—
out of the shower and onto this pill.

Somebody guessed just what life was like
then made a pill for it.

I’m not mad at you. I’ve run out of that kind of madness.
I’m just confused—it’s only a little flu,

but your body circles my three-pronged cane,
and lands on the toilet like a vulture.

Ugh, I’m dying, you say, but you just mean nothing changes.

I wish I could help you. But only time can help you.
I wish it could help me.

The door is crying drops of water
that knew my face once—

press your face against my face
in the glass.

Mathew Brady studio, "Unidentified Man," c. 1823-1896, daguerreotype. From the collection of the Library of Congress. H/t The Public Domain Review.

Max Ritvo

Max Ritvo is the author of the poetry collection Four Reincarnations (Milkweed Editions, 2016) and the chapbook AEONS, for which he was awarded a 2014 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. He earned his BA from Yale University and his MFA from Columbia University. Ritvo's poetry has also appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, and on Poets.org. His eight poems that appeared in Boston Review, introduced by Lucie Brock-Broido, were named as one of its top twenty poetry selections published in 2015. His prose and interviews have appeared in The Huffington Post, Divedapper, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His radio appearances include NPR’s Only Human, The New Yorker Radio Hour, and The Dr. Drew Podcast. Ritvo was a poetry editor at Parnassus: Poetry in Review and a teaching fellow at Columbia University. He lived in Manhattan until his death in August 2016.