Every Day is Someone’s First in Purgatory

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

by Samuel Piccone
winner of the 2021-2022 Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry

issue 76

My wife’s stethoscope necklaces her with the soon-to-be-dead, 
a stack of red manilla drags her out the door, “Just shoot me already.” 
The owner who calls to remind her he’ll hang himself if she doesn’t 
save his cat is calling again. There’s a hotline ready to talk you out of anything 
when anything’s a missive that ends with forgive me. 
An operator once assured me in every way my telling invited reassurance. 
Yes, I’m still here. My godfather’s suicide note requested nothing be done 
and failed to mention the reason he held my hand beside a campfire 
and poured rum in my mouth until I wasn’t a boy anymore. 
What reckons pleasure more than departure? I’m asking for a friend. 
The earliest definition of casket was a little box for jewelry 
too precious to wear. Think of all the diamonds buried in a graveyard 
and tell me light is better understood by the living. Tell me God 
never shuts his door to pray the good things in life aren’t accidental.
The brightness underneath our feet must kill Him.