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A Razor to the Throat Ought to Do It­-

Jill Alexander Essbaum

Anyone here had a go at themselves /
for a laugh?
                      “I Say I Say I Say” by Simon Armitage

but if a blood oath’s not your wrecking pleasure,
        give this sassy trick a spin: lay your body down
upon the goosefeather bed and just pretend that you are
        dead.  It’s worked before, oh hasn’t it?  Suffer
your eyes shut tight as a lock-box, lest any mystery
        grief slip out.  Do you doubt that you can do it? 
Try talking yourself through it.  With conviction
        to befit the desperately diseased, recite your plan
to the mattress springs: Breath, be held in the flinch
        of these wrists, for you squirm from my grip
like a kitten.
  Close enough for hand grenades,
        or the ravel of the hangman’s noose, which­-shall I
remind you?
­-slipped loose from the fist of your head
        like a misthrown punch.  Some luck.  Now, plug
your throat with a well-poisoned plum.  You’ll perish
        seven deaths while you’re waiting for the Prince. 
He never comes to kiss it out.  That dim, grim, bother
        of a rib.  Piss on him.  You’re best off alone. 
You shall star in a Single-Woman Show.  Act One,
        Disappearing Do.  Bow to your own, grand rounds
of applause.  Did I say rounds?  You could manage
        by a solitary bullet.  They’ll putty up your skull
with plaster.  What a laugh.  Quel disastre!  You’ll take
        the very cake away.  Your famous face will proceed
every parade.  You will be saved.  And no one ought feel
        smug enough to blame you.  Neither will they call you
by your given name, Queen Bee.  You can hive out
        the span of your rotting spree in a golden tomb,
a Drone (not unlike the other ones) to comb through
        the honey of your tears.  That could take years,
conceivably.  But to that end, God promises
        a pretty room in which to wait.  A nice place,
really.  Quiet, if a tad sight cramped and chilly. 
        Remarkable, though.  All roses and balloons. 
Truly, it should swoon you to it, blissfully senseless, drunk
        as if you’ve swigged it from the oven’s hissing whisper.
Swell touch, if your note is cryptically composed. 
        Suchlike your own, bereaved life, it’s left for the scholars
to somehow surmise.  How bravely you held on
        until finally-­you died­-
in your sad little bed on that trash of a night. 
        But you’re simply pretending.  Right?

Jill Alexander Essbaum

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