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ST. DYMPHNA TO THOSE CONTEMPLATING MARTYRDOM

The last thing you’ll remember is the shade of your blood against the Formica in the bathroom, maybe the cloying wake of gun oil left on your gums where you tested the fit of the barrel, or the view from the balcony on the 14th story.


I can hear it from here, the automatic weaponry of your heart trying to defend itself from terror or from itself, the awful wet certainty of being alive pumping away inside the cage of your sternum and the realization that as both jailed and jailer you could set that certainty free.


I know the awesome power of having your own life in your hands.


I have seen you juggle chainsaws with your clumsy earth-caked fingers quaking during hang-time and wonder if this is the last mistake you’ll ever have to make, and you are no less for the exhaustion of everything always being up in the air.


The first thing you remember is the delivery room, brand new eyes blinded by the beauty of it all and counting the exits.


Then came Virginia at the mouth of your cradle

whispering

it is possible to die,


Sylvia and her ferrocyanide smile

lifting the lid of the bell jar to keep you safe

when she lit the pilot,


Anne dressed to the nines -

her mother’s fur and polished bones,

once beautiful and now

herself.


Darling martyr, do you get it now?

Can you see the pattern?


You were born at an awkward angle and have been fighting gravity ever since. There is nothing romantic about being one of Her Kind, you know the type, a radium girl with a heart that glows in the dark and runs on antifreeze — I know this and you know this, but it is worth mentioning that there is strength in numbers.


The sisters of suicide doomed to live the same life over and over,

Abel flayed at his brother’s feet and yes,

I am your keeper.


It is true that all of us will die.

It is even true that some of us will die by our own hands at the time of our choosing, possible that that time might be soon and that the only remnants of our time of dying will be pillars of salt, but


you are forgiven

everything you have ever wanted

to be forgiven.


It is true that all may yet come to ruin, the trumpets sounded, the seals broken, the End of all things come at long last.

We may yet skip Rapture, may yet forfeit our right to make it to sunrise, but some of us won’t.


Some of us won’t.


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