For One Dead

What would you like, little bone-star?

Would the suicided person please stand up?
Would they please tell the height of their pain
            the very top of the trees of it
            where it extends dentricles upward

would we prefer their death or this saying of it?

they would sit with the right person
the right person
and tell their pain.
that person would build a shield around the pain
a thin wooden structure half circle uneven
fluted.
they would leave it there for three days.

on the third would pick it up
and say                      their words. What words they have.
This would be the listening & the telling.

Related Poems

Six Months After Contemplating Suicide

Admit it—
you wanted the end

with a serpentine
greed. How to negotiate

that strangling
mist, the fibrous

whisper?

To cease to exist
and to die

are two different things entirely.

But you knew this,
didn't you?

Some days you knelt on coins
in those yellow hours.

You lit a flame

to your shadow
and ate

scorpions with your naked fingers.

So touched by the sadness of hair
in a dirty sink.

The malevolent smell
of soap.

When instead of swallowing a fistful
of white pills,

you decided to shower,

the palm trees
nodded in agreement,

a choir
of crickets singing

behind your swollen eyes.

The masked bird
turned to you

with a shred of paper hanging
from its beak.

At dusk,
hair wet and fragrant,

you cupped a goat's face

and kissed
his trembling horns.

The ghost?

It fell prostrate,
passed through you

like a swift
and generous storm.

To Sleep

Then out of the darkness leapt a bare hand
that stroked my brow, "Come along, child;
stretch out your feet under the blanket.
Darkness will give you back, unremembering.
Do not be afraid." So I put down my book
and pushed like a finger through sheer silk,
the autobiographical part of me, the am,
snatched up to a different place, where I was
no longer my body but something more—
the compulsive, disorderly parts of me
in a state of equalization, everything sliding off:
war, love, suicide, poverty—as the rebellious,
mortal, I, I, I lay, like a beetle irrigating a rose,
my red thoughts in a red shade all I was.

Weary Rings

       There are desires to return, to love, to not disappear,
and there are desires to die, fought by two
opposing waters that have never isthmused.

       There are desires for a great kiss that would shroud Life,
one that ends in the Africa of a fiery agony,
a suicide!

       There are desires to. . .have no desires, Lord;
I point my deicidal finger at you:
there are desires to not have had a heart.

       Spring returns, returns and will depart. And God,
bent in time, repeats himself, and passes, passes
with the spinal column of the Universe on his back.

       When my temples beat their lugubrious drum,
when the dream engraved on a dagger aches me,
there are desires to be left standing in this verse!