A family recipe, a childhood memory, a Depression-era handout
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Because it’s embarrassing how many poems you’ve written
about killing yourself.
Because you discovered the suicide note
your father wrote to your mother.
Because the note said, I’m sorry, dearest,
our sons didn’t turn out as we hoped.
Because your oldest friend just died
after you’d been angry with her the whole year
for taking only half of every pill prescribed her.
Because she wouldn’t let you in her house,
where newspapers were piled to the ceiling.
Because she was the only person you trusted
with your suicide notes disguised as poems;
only she didn’t find you morally irresponsible
for wanting to kill yourself.
Because your father didn’t die from that bottle of pills
but drifted off to sleep
after you spent a year changing his diapers,
sprinkling talcum powder on his buttocks,
and sending him into his dreams smelling like a baby.
And you’re still hanging on to self-pity
because it’s something you’ve always been good at:
far easier than grieving.
You’d rather do anything than grieve.
© Gina Easley