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.