"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.