Cold Comfort

Our thoughts and prayers are with you
as you hide in the bathroom stall,
listening to obituaries being written
with lead punctuation marks.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you
as you text your mother,
wondering if your sentence on Earth
is about to end.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you
as you hear footsteps, marching
in an ellipsis towards the bathroom door.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you
as the door swings open and you light up:
with visions of wax-stained fingers holding candlelight vigils;
of yourself as a child,
dreaming of becoming an astronaut, a dinosaur hunter, a president;
of a future where your mother doesn’t get a text saying “goodbye”
but rather “Let’s do lunch on Thursday”
or “I love you-I’m sorry we don’t talk more”;
where you aren’t crawling on a cold tile floor,
wondering how your life will fit within the parameters
of an editor’s word count.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you
as your body grows cold,
and the SWAT team moves in
five minutes too late,
and the man who finished your story
ends his own with an exclamation mark.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you…
Not that they’ll do you any good.
But seeing the question marks written after you
in blood, cordite, and shell casings,
what else could we offer
but a plea to the Author
to consider writing a new ending?

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