my sister used to tell me, “Life is
a journey without a finish line. Some may fall
by the wayside, but get up and keep on trying.”
on the good days, i can be twelve again
and crouched outside her door
and hear her asking God to give her a sign
that he was listening, goddammit, anything.
on the bad days, i can look back and i still won’t
be able to tell you when she lost her faith in
the thing about suicide is that
people can tell you they love you
and they can tell you that they’d miss you,
but suicide is selfish. no one can talk down
a bomb. they just have to let it explode
and deal with the aftermath.
here is how i end and it’s in bangs and it’s in whimpers
and it’s in two o’clock unanswered phone
calls and all the scissors we’re not allowed
to keep in our house anymore.
it’s in being stretched out like a trampoline over too
many people and snapping because i care too goddamn
much about people who don’t care enough
it’s in late night screams that say, “no, you need
to stay here,” and “ but i can’t stay”, but are really saying
“why can’t you just be happy?” and “but i never was.”
when i was thirteen i tried to pray every night
but i was always afraid that God would answer me
in a way he never did my sister.
at some point, you know, you gotta try to believe
in something, even if it’s just that
love exists or that you’re going to grow up to be fifty
or that siblings should always be treated equally
or that you’re not worthy
this is what it feels like to explode.
i’m alone and shaking apart
at invisible seams that replicate themselves
on my big sister’s baby blanket,
i’m alone fifty-one miles out in nowhere, broken down
in a car that never really worked right, trying to convince
myself that i want to go home.
i learned how to drive when i was fifteen
and i’ve been making too many mistakes
for my hands not to shake when i get behind the wheel.
someone i used to know once told me,
“life is the highway and your destination is sitting at
the end and we’ll all get there one day.”
my sister baked cupcakes the day before she
killed herself, like she needed to make
the world a better place even as she left it.
no one touched them until they were stale.
it’s funny to think that most all of our prayers
let’s have a race and see who can make it there first.