A Poem from Those Left Behind

A flame was never meant to extinguish this abruptly.
Starved of oxygen, your origami letters became ash in a mouth that bled (for too many years).

I would say goodbye, but the word is a branding iron razed against a smoldering tongue.

Forgiveness never came easily for the dead.
Graveyards are full of grudges and barely concealed debts.

When I told you that I loved you, I disguised the words (behind shattered glass bottles and origami letters confettied like New Year’s).

I remember your eyes cold like marbles, frozen like winter ponds.

(I made a half-joke and thought myself funny, but your lips never curled up in a smile.)

This is autobiography, but all you ever asked for was a poem or a story (but not this – not an obituary or elegy).

I could never say goodbye. I ran from endings & ripped the last page out of every book I ever read.

Sometimes, I wrote stories that ended in the middle of a

Magic Mushroom Road: a Poem

Write a poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. Not a famous person, necessarily-perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood.
(Prompt by Maureen Thorson)

You take life too seriously.
It’d be much more fun
if you remember to laugh.
(There’s so much to cry about,
what if we laughed instead?)

Chase the white rabbit.
This isn’t Wonderland,
but we can still wonder.
Try to hold onto that feeling
when the Christmas lights twinkle
as you breathe in deep,

as you speed past,
time speeds up
(when you don’t have much of it left).

Try to hold the magic inside of your lungs,
inhale as though it were a Turkish Gold.

None of us get out alive.
We might as well sing off-key
and laugh like tonight’s the last night
we breathe.

Take my guitar and strum a melody
to tell you the things that I could never say.

(I believe she’ll explain it to you
one day.
One day when I’m gone.)
You’ll remember my name, my laugh,
but don’t think me a fool
because I’ve proven myself to be much more
than that.

Laugh like tonight’s the last night
and tell the girl you love her
(because I forgot to say it
before it was too late)
.

-inspired by Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology

Requiescat in Pace
A monologue from the deceased. (Gone too soon.)