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Poetry By Sarah E. Smith

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Trying to convince myself that I can breathe,
even without lungs.
I don’t need a heart to beat when I’m already
beating myself up.
My arms and legs are superfluous,
they just weigh me down.
Loving you is like this. Fruitless.
Who needs blood in their veins?
Certainly not me, I have perfected living without.
I don’t need more than air to breathe,
the ocean and a good hard storm.
Ah, I forgot, I can’t breathe the air.
I left my lungs behind.
If I could stop myself I would, but I seem determined.
I am just cutting myself into pieces for you,
just thinking about how ridiculous this is.
But I’ve learned to live without you here,
learned to go on when you disappear.
So I can learn to breathe water,
pump gold from my veins,
be the perfect fuck when you want me,
but you never really want me.
So I’ve taught myself to speak with no tongue,
to guard my heart when I don’t have one.
You’re only vulnerable when you’re drunk,
only let me take two steps in when you can’t stop yourself.
You demand to know if I love you,
but I don’t ask you the same questions.
I already know the answers.
This isn’t love. It’s greed. You want to leave me on a wire.
You get jealous and you say we should stop this,
but you reel me back in. No matter what I say,
the feelings will ruin all of this anyway.
I lied when I said I wouldn’t fall for you. My heart fell,
is still falling, waiting for you to catch it. I’m catching my breath,
pretending I know how to stop caring.
Fruitless. Your arms are winter branches and while the fire
they produce is warm, the truth is I’ll be left on the doorstep in
January, because you begged me not to leave you,
but you’ve already left.


There are no pills to bring you back 10/16/17
Today I want to slice my veins open like raw fruit.
Scoop the mess from my skull like a pumpkin on Halloween.
There isn’t anything worth saving in there anyway,
just a lot of pulp and mess.
My mouth feels like a graveyard.
The breath of ghosts rattling their chains against my teeth.
Phantoms of what I’ll never say aloud,
they haunt the empty spaces in my cheeks.
See, when I say I’m suicidal,
I imagine clawing open my chest and inspecting my heart.
I could find the scars of each moment,
I just need a moment to get this container open.
When I say I’m suicidal,
I imagine walking into the ocean, my legs joining to form a fin,
and I just swim away like the mermaid I always knew I was.
I don’t mean death, per se.
I’m suicidal.
I greet the skeleton smile of Death and we have tea.
They clack their bony joints against my head,
say “Not today, not today” and they leave me, waiting.
Today I regret every time Death turned its back on me,
saying “Not today, you have so much left to do.”
I don’t want to. I am tired. “Take me with you,” I say.
I just want to know what my insides look like
and if the raging flames igniting the pain
really die out when exposed to the air of
open veins in flung wide arms, attempting to hug Death into submission.
I look at rivers of blue,
tracing each tributary back to the source,
wondering how it would feel to flood my apartment.
Wondering how it would feel to just let go.
See Death and I have tea often.
They always tell me no, but I keep begging for a yes.
I keep imagining how it will feel,
whether I will recognize the moment before it all goes dark.
I’m not sure where we go, if there is a hell or a heaven,
a new life waiting beyond this one,
if this is the punishment for sins I don’t remember
in all the déjà vu of lives I think I lived.
I’m not planning anything, I just need to not exist,
take a breath and blink out of the world and into
oblivion for a hot minute. I’ll come back, I swear I will.
If I could just find the right goddamn pill,
the right set of knives, or could bring myself to crash the car
into all the autumn trees, I’d lose myself in the leaves,
promise to return to get my things,
like I’m just moving out, but I’ll be down the street.
I just want to know what it’s like to dance with Death for a bit,
skeletal fingers entangled in my hair,
the most intimate encounter I’ve ever had.
I say I’m suicidal, but I’m not looking for a relationship with Death.
I just want to visit them on the weekends,
sip oblivion iced coffee and nibble at scones made of unconsciousness.
Where did you get this maraschino nothingness?
It tastes divine.
And then I’d return, as if I never left,
just on holiday rather than needing a forwarding address.
I don’t want to leave forever.
Today Death came to sit with me. We discussed those dreams
they keep saying I should hold tight to. I disagree with them.
I don’t want to. I’m tired. They keep saying “not today.”
They hide the knives, they blunt the spoons and leave me, waiting.
“There are no pills to bring you back,” they say, retreating.


Sarah Smith, is currently a student at Ivy Tech in Bloomington Indiana. She has been writing for 14 years, but hasn’t published before. Sarah hopes to work as a book translator in the future.



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Published inPoetry


  1. Raj Raj

    The poem shows a lot of pain and how well he has opened up his heart via this poem. How he wonderfully describes that death is keep him waited while hes tired of his life. I loved the last lines of the poem…Great imagination power!

  2. Terrance Cross Terrance Cross

    Sarah, you are the best. So much passion, so much conviction and a lot of determination, that’s what I conceived from your poem. The verse “If I could stop myself I would, but I seem determined” inspired me immensely. You are a beautiful soul!

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