I Won’t Write Your Obituary
by Nora Cooper
You ask if you could call to say goodbye
if you’re ever gonna kill yourself.
but I won’t write your obituary.
I’ll commission it from some dead-end journalist
who’ll say things like ‘at peace’, ‘better place’, ‘fought the good fight’,
maybe reference the loving embrace of capital-G god at least four times,
maybe quote Charles ‘fuckin’ Bukowski, and I won’t stop them
because I won’t write your obituary.
But if you call me, I will write you a new sky, one you can taste,
I will write you a DIY cloudmaker, so on days
when you can’t do anything, you can still make clouds,
in whatever shape you want them.
I will write you letters, messages in bottles and cages and orange peels
in the distance between here and the moon and forests and rivers and bird songs
I will write you songs,
I can’t write music, but I’ll find Rihanna
and I’ll get her to write you music,
if it’ll make you want to dance a little longer,
I will write you a body whose veins are electricity,
because outlets are easier to find than good shrinks,
but we will find you a good shrink,
I will write you 1-800-273-8255,
that’s the suicide hotline.
We can call it together and, yeah
you can call me, but I won’t tell you it’s okay;
that I forgive you.
I won’t say goodbye, or I love you.
One last time.
You won’t leave on good terms with me.
Because I would not forgive you.
I won’t read you your last rights,
absolve you of sin, watch you sail away on a flaming Viking ship,
my hand glued to my forehead,
I will not hold your hand steady around a gun,
and after I won’t come by to pick up the package of body parts
you would have left specifically for me,
I’ll get a call like, “Ma’am, what would you have us to do with them?”
and I’ll say, “Burn them, feed them to stray cats,
throw them at school children,
hurl them at the sea.”
I don’t care, I don’t want them,
I don’t want your heart.
It’s not yours anymore,
it’s just a heart now.
And I already have one.
I don’t want your lungs,
just deflated birthday party balloons
that can’t breathe anymore.
I don’t want a jar of your teeth as a memento.
I don’t want your ripped off skin,
a blanket to wrap myself in when I need to feel
like you’re still here.
You won’t be there.
There’s no blood there,
there’s no life there,
there’s no you there.
I want you, and I will write you – so many fucking dead friends poems before,
that people will confuse my tongue with your tombstones
and try to plant daisies in my throat
before I ever write you and obituary,
while you’re still fucking here.
So the answer to your question is,
“Yes, if you’re ever really gonna kill yourself.
Yes, please, call me.”