You have mixed feelings about suicide prevention.

If a person wants to go, why not let her go? Then again

 

there might be another way to live she hasn’t considered

yet and a stranger to impart these choices in a voice

 

paved with old potted coffee. It’s like that wedding

in Stony Point you wanted to leave before they served the cake.

 

Your ride was ready to split, but the fat girl in your party

had never tried canoli cake. Well damn her for wanting

 

and damn you for saying: the fat girl. She wasn’t fat

on the ride up when you discussed Hart Crane and Kurt Cobain

 

and which one was sexier: drowning or shooting? Hanging

is best if you can swing it, she said. You liked her then.

 

But an agreement had been made, 10 pm, cake or no cake.

You knew nothing of the catering boy with a steel stud

 

through his tongue, fingering a packet of pills. He watched you scowl

at the garter toss: mouth wet with little lemon sorbets

 

and broiled fish. When a person wants to go, why not

let her go? Then again, if you stayed for the cake you’d get kissed.

 

This poem originally appeared in Volume 4 of The Ampersand Review and in a slightly different from in When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother, Broder’s debut collection from Ampersand Books. 

When You Say One Thing But Mean Your MotherMelissa Broder is the author of two poetry collections, MEAT HEART and  WHEN YOU SAY ONE THING BUT MEAN YOUR MOTHER. Poems appear or are forthcoming in GuernicaFenceRedivider, Court GreenThe Missouri Review online, BarrelhouseThe Awl, Drunken Boat, et al. You can read the online ones HERE. By day, she is a publicity manager at Penguin. Broder received her BA from Tufts University and is getting a slow, scenic MFA at CCNY. 

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