The Life Cycle

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The sign on the door reads
“Baltimore Survivors of Suicide Support Group”
although the circle of men and women inside’s
pale, pulse-less wrists remain stagnant,
barely capable of holding their own weight.
It is not August’s oppressive heat
that makes it difficult to breathe
when introductions are made:

five years, seven months, two days:
daughter, sixteen, family gun;
four months and twenty-three days:
boyfriend, a noose.
Two weeks: son, found hanging
in his L.A. apartment.

“I don’t know why he –”
the mother’s voice falters,
and I think, I know.
And I think, But his was nothing
compared to yours.

The sky darkens and I’m still here,
heart quickening, feeling alive again
(months of vacant staring, vacant rooms,
of sharp silvers behind locked doors)
listening to these strangers’ stories,
and I trudge on unwillingly, knowing
that many winters will pass
and I will still be here
to watch the snow fall.





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