Before The Rope Goes Taut

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 04:48 -- Arlea


“Some days I like to lie down,” I write,
“in my room,
and hold my breath, just to see how long I can go.  
So I can pretend that my lungs
have been emptied for the last time.
And on those days,
my bed is a hearse.
Awake or asleep: which is worse?
You’ve told me you need me.
You’ve told me to keep going.
You’ve told me I’m precious, knowing
I’ll feel selfish for taking the leap.
But don’t call me precious.
Don’t be fictitious with me.  
Don’t tell me that you know exactly what went through my head.
Please, listen to another, and preserve their life instead.”



Now that wasn’t my note.
It’s wasn’t a goodbye.
Or an apology.
That was not my ‘sorry’. 
We could continue this volley of blame and guilt and
“it was my fault, no it was mine
but we’re running out of time here!
This is my request to you:
reach out, do what I ought to have done:
Tell them they’re precious before the rope goes taut – and you’ve won.   
You ask me how I died?
Let me tell you.
My killers?
Silence: he suffocated me with his bare hands.
Shame: smugly, over my grave he stands.
Guilt: He’s the one who saw to it I hung.
Stigma:  a yellow-bellied liar who cut out my tongue.
Some days were worse than others – my killers all colluded,
but now I have concluded
that the ringleader was my good friend stigma.
He cut me up and strung me out
and no one heard my desperate shout
for help, for reprieve;
I know that I died but I STILL feel!
I still regret!  I hurt!  I grieve!
In truth I never was all that strong.
My body? In her late teens.
And she lies in a grave that is deceptively long.
And before my hole is fully dug,
another soul lands with a thud.
A blade, a pill, a ropey hug:
too many! Too many sleep in the mud!
It’s time, I say, there’s been enough
of hiding, lying, being tough,
because in the end all’s said and done:
a life is lost and nothing’s won.
But you can change that.  
Reach out, it won’t all be for naught!
Tell them they’re precious, before the rope goes taut.

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country
Our world


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