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What a Shame We Only Die One Death

by Lindsey Button

Never can we feel

both the piercing of lungs with a sword

and the separation of head from neck.

And if our end is met with a failure of heart

or overgrowth of cells,

then never can we know

the slow release of freezing limbs waning

in shades of aubergine one by one,

finger by finger, toe by toe.


Oh! Wouldn’t it be something to know

how both Ophelia and Juliet felt.

But we must choose one or the other:

To feel the body slowly sink under

or to drink our final bitter libation,

That is the question.


If we meet our end through torture,

if we’re torn limb from limb,

our spleen eaten as a fowlish feast,

then we’ll understand the ancient pain

of poor Prometheus, but unlike him,

we’ll never get to die another death.


And never know the courage it takes

To slowly drain your own life with a slit

and a drip of your own knife,

If our end is a quick flash of a crash

And the breaking of glass. 


So many possible doors to the same end,

A pity we can only ever open one.

What a shame we only die once.

Lindsey Button is an emerging poet living in Nashville, TN. 

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June 2019

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