The fatigue is surprising

It lays upon me like a large rat, who breathes into my mouth

and slowly strokes its whiskers down my face,

heavy, slow, a weight pressing on my chest

and bending my ribcage down into the ground.

Soon I shall be tottering about like an old man,

bent, hunched, with glazed and smoky eyes

and sticks for arms and feet, like a caricature of age,

I will move about, like a bundle of bones.

When the rat's pounds grow too heavy as it

breathes into my flesh, corrupting my life-blood and my breath,

I will simply collapse, watching, as if outside myself,

the skin unstitch itself and crumble,

the bones fall with a clatter like a xylophone,

the eyes fall out like marbles and roll upon the floor.