"Suicide Watch" by Christian Sammartino


My body is a maximum security prison,

and I am an inmate on death row.


Conversations with my closest friends

feel like whispering into a jailhouse phone.

We are divided by bulletproof glass.


I can’t stand to live one more day

in this solitary confinement.


I plot my escape in handwritten

notes stashed beneath birthday cards

with advice from dead relatives.


I cross off the days until my execution

with black X’s on a calendar hidden

in the penitentiary of my mind.


I want to jail-break from my cell,

like the Anglin Brothers escaped

Alcatraz in June of ‘62.


All my raincoats are sewn into a raft.

I am prepared to sail San Francisco Bay,

vanishing before I am discovered.


But she teaches me I don’t need a suicide

mission and a lifeboat to rescue myself

from the body bag of my depression.


She teaches me how to hear

miracles where I live on earth.


Fluttering bat wings zigzagging

through the darkest night of the year.


Apple butter spreading into nooks

and crannies in freshly baked bread.


How the bonfire logs crackle

when I burn my suicide notes.


My prison cell clangs open.


I hear heaven on every avenue tonight

without serving my death penalty.