from The Survivor
I push my foot into my boot, and you die.
I put my toothbrush on its stand, and you die.
I put on my headset, and you die.
I fix myself tea, I order Thai food, I smudge
the surface of my tablet, and you die.
I find the plushie you gave me
for Valentine’s Day, and you die a little harder.
You die as I walk past the gas station on 51st,
past Alex and Alix’s apartment,
past the Chili’s at 45th and Lamar.
I click the key into the ignition,
the radio switches on, and you die.
A pothole jars my right front wheel, and
you die, you die, you insist
on dying. You always were
a stubborn ass, but I can be stubborn, too.
I can hold out as long as it takes
for you to listen. Listen:
That’s enough dying, now.
You can stop, now.
How are you holding up?
is the best way to ask, is the way
we ask each other the question
to which there is no good answer.
But surely there is a word
in another language, a phrase coined
by Kierkegaard or the Buddha,
meaning today I am at my most
I am not okay and
Jenn Koiter’s poems and essays have appeared in Smartish Pace, Bateau, Barrelhouse, Ruminate, Rock & Sling, and other journals. She lives in Washington, DC with three gerbils named Sputnik, Cosmo, and Unit.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.