by Minerva Siegel
My birthday's tomorrow,
glittering and confetti'd,
boxed and bow'd.
I've always felt my impending suicide
as a black balloon tied to my wrist-
or maybe around my neck-
bobbing about, even in happy times,
that I'll end it soon,
that I'm in control,
that I have an escape plan.
25 was my number.
I knew I'd do it before then.
I knew I'd never make it
It seems like such a solid number,
such a warm chunk of life,
a quarter of a century,
tidy and clean,
As my birthday approaches,
the balloon loosens its grip
and drifts off
and I am left
Frightened as a rabbit
about to be lunch..
Without my suicide hanging over me,
always an option, always an out,
the future seems so vast,
and I am made
What happens next? Where will I go, what will I do?
Who will I meet, what will I learn?
How much longer do I get
on this mad spinning planet
this hurling hunk of rotten meat
of earnest chaos & terror?
I want to reach out and explore
this brave new slate of life before me,
blank and sterile as the hospital beds I'd woken up on,
Lazarus tucked neatly
into crisp white linens,
but ever knowing that I wouldn't-
But, I'm here.
I'm here with wide stinging eyes
blinded by promise and fervor
and an apprehension all new.
Who am I, if not suicidal?
Am I a survivor
or a fool?
I'm a warrior with glitter in my belly and stars in my eyes
I'm picking the thorns out of my flesh one by one,
they pool at my feet.
Marrow's been sucked from dead bones now
and I'm a smiling woman
left with daggers for a tongue
and a dying pearl of self-absolution
in my cold, rotten, beautiful, beating heart.
I'm done martyring.
For me, not you.
& not out of guilt
or spite or some self-aggrandizing
inflated sense of obligation to the planet.
Starting now, at 25,
I'm in it for me.
The silver chalice of eternal life
the holy grail
the fountain of youth
Do I dare?
I've stumbled and ambled
on through this life for 25 years
My nose in old books,
my starlit head an ocean of alternating narcissistic glory
and complete despair,
my charred heart caged tightly in my chest,
chugging along with its muddled beating,
waiting for its day to die.
and horror of my past
and it's time to move on
as a brave new woman
with lilac lips and a golden heart.
If I thought less, I could've loved myself more,
The poor monster within me lifts its ugly head,
a golden Minotaur
brilliant and gleaming now with iron horns
with which to stab and prod and dismantle you.
He checks the time-
It's nearly our birthday now.
The minutes close in like a gap shutting tightly,
the room is airless and heavy with
the promise of a crisp new dawn.
No black balloon in sight.
Could it be
that I've made it