CW: suicidal ideation, mentions of self-harm and carcass
I encounter death for the first time in a while near the subway station, glimpsing a featherless pigeon unknotting its guts on the curb. I wait to cross the road as a group of boys notice the corpse. walk away as they mistake it for a football. try not to think about it too hard.
Recently, I’ve been thinking too hard about the way we still call this life a gift even though it has a return date. I worry that I won’t let myself live until we see the day I don’t. when I wasn’t yet ideating, I often looked down at my own hands, these hands attached to benign wrists, & wondered how destructive I could be to my own blood.
when I say I used to dream of death, I mean I pictured my body in your hands, crimsoning open like a maple leaf. wanted nothing more than to be held & admired for the way my veins blazed through this paper-thin skin. I was yearning to make the news as soon as my body hit the ground. I know better now. to perish is to be spluttered across the sidewalk then manhandled into the grave. & if nothing else will save me tonight, let it be that fact that keeps me alive. I will throw another bloodstained blade away. I will look both ways before crossing the street. I will pray for the friends of the pigeon to be safe.
Sal is a freelance poet, editor, and translator living in New Jersey. Her work has been published in Vagabond City Lit, Yes Poetry, and Lunch Ticket, among others. She currently edits poetry for Heartburn Review and prose for The Augment Review. She tweets at @nini_kang and posts more poetry on Instagram @sal.adays.