Burning

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It was amazing that I had saved the suicide notes for so long; as if someday I might need them again.
Personalized: to my boyfriend, my mother, my sister, the world.
I couldn’t bear to read them. My script was neat and blocky like a child’s.
The house was quiet and empty, fake adobe, sand-colored.
The trees lining the yard reminded me of other places I’d been. I felt safe.

I sat in the gravel next to the deck and gripped a lighter in the wind. I needed to make the papers disappear. The sun sank behind the cottonwood and piñon behind me, dimming the evening’s light and causing goose bumps to rise along my calves and forearms.

The flame flashed and danced below the first paper. Once the fire caught, it spread quickly, sending off surprisingly tall and scalding flames. I wasn’t thinking about what the letters contained; what lies I had been telling myself back then.

I was thinking that everyone has a future. There would be a friend’s marriage, an illness, a sunset, new sneakers, a birthday – something yet to occur. I was thinking about the cup of coffee I would have the next morning, with half and half in a handmade ceramic mug.

The papers crumbled into black-and-white ashes that writhed in the heat.

Were the neighbors watching, wondering what this girl outside was doing, crouching in the gravel with a lighter? For a second I thought I smelled flesh burning beneath the smoke.

We are all dying, but let it be unplanned. Let our regrets sink into the earth like ashes. Let us carry on as if nothing bad will happen.

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Hints

I drop them, breadcrumbs
as I trudge through the dark forest
Find me, Save me
Stolen away by mice
Trampled by leather boots
because my friends are looking at their phones

I throw them, handfuls
Save me, Help me
They fidget at the discomfort
of crumbs down their shirt, loosen the collars
What a nuisance

I am not hinting anymore
Breadcrumbs pour from my sleeves
Eyes dripping in pain
Everyone walking
looks away

kittens

cast out
like a litter of unwanted
kittens in cardboard
shivering, drenched

mewling from tiny
faces, pink noses scrunch
in effort at the clawing
fruitless on the walls
insurmountable

rain pounding their
delicate ears, they huddle
together as it
becomes dark, quaking
missing
their mother

they claw through me
forcing me to my knees
drawing sobs from deep
in my chest
i miss
my mother

the Drinks

Some days I crave the burn
of alcohol- yes, straight rum
vodka or gin- pulls from a bottle tucked in
beside my dresser, the one my mother
my roommates don’t know is there —
my mother is not an alcoholic
just like my grandmother was not
just like I am not.

We’re all only humans who face
the death of our parents
and the destruction of all species
who walked the earth before us
and betrayal at the hands of those
who told us they loved us.

I’ll drink to that
and drink to pretending
I don’t wake up with this on my mind.

Day 3

My broken heart aches on for you.
I see your face in all I do.
As I walk I sing the song
“You are My Sunshine”. You hum along.

I know you’re gone and you’re not here.
But your voice still whispers in my ear.
Hazel eyes from beneath lush lashes
stay vivid though each day still passes.

The tears I cry do not do justice
to the soft heart-wrenching rushes
of remembering you’re really gone.
I wonder if I can move on.

How is loss ever healed?
How did you live with pain so real?
You made it 29 years, my love.
So brave; I did not express that enough.