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poetry


IN OUR VERY COLD TOWN
by
Curtis Tompkins

the mayor’s daughter killed herself

last night across the street

in her parentsí victorian

next door to the only funeral home in town

and we don’t know why she chose the garage

while they were away at a soccer game,

don’t even know yet how she did it:

in the car with clouds of poison

or with a revolver at her heart

in the only place without carpet

where her blood would pool

next to a drain, at least,

and be washed away easily

as a last sign of consideration,

not leaving too awful a mess,

one last meager gesture

of knowing every step hurts something,

be it microbes or your spouse

or the sun—she could not escape

the sorrow it would bring,

couldn’t even leave a note

on the door saying, Don’t come in

I’ve killed myself, because they would come

crashing through, needing to see her

stiff and alone, the way I imagine she stayed

those last cold months maybe

because summer wasn’t long enough,

wasn’t hot enough, and the fall started

with rain & snow, and she said god damn it

no, not one more, not one more cold floor

in the night, not one more frozen sunrise

above the funeral parlor next door.



Curtis Tompkins lives and writes in the Allegheny Highlands of western Maryland. His prose, poetry, and reviews have appeared most recently in Ducts, Solstice, No Teeth, Prick of the Spindle, The Broadkill Review, Plain Spoke, Review Revue, and Backbone Mountain Review.



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