Near-Death Experiences

It is September, a month since then

and you say my mother would do well to lock me

in a cushion-lined room and hide

my nail file, my scissors and even

my hair pins.


You think I’m like the girl

in a movie you saw. I haven’t seen it

but I am nothing like her, I’m sure.

You can try to kill me if I’m wrong.


She liked Near Death Experiences,

I don’t even know the term.

Death, I tell you, is never near.

It is always in your face.

There’s blood, there’s gore,

there are lolling heads and purple

bruises on the neck, the face.


Eyes pushed out to take in the world

and the innocence of those who see

the hanging man, all in flash.

The ones who die don’t see the bus that hits them.


Death leaves a trace

I only leave nailpolish stains.

I do not wish to die so soon.

The cushioned room will have to be locked

without me, and I’ll keep

my hairpins, thank you.

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