« Oliver de la Paz | Contents | Rebbecca Brown »

Jenny Sadre-Orafai

Premeditated Death


We tease our zaftig death out. It’s not as easy as it looks.

We agree to stare until the sound of the carriage comes

to carry this white flagged passing. And, then, after the noise,

in trots the caretaker carriage drawn by no horse and no man.

It clutches it away in its excited mouth, a mother tugging

her baby back. She doesn’t taste the pay off, this kiss off.


You could say we brought it on. A scheduled summoning.

Please be here after six. Don’t knock three times. No,

third time’s not the charm. No three strikes you’re out.

Come ‘round the back to pick it up. We don’t want to air

this out for everyone to see. If there’s a death and no one sees it,

did it really happen? If only the newly dead knew they lived at all?


After all, neither of us runs behind the buggy’s leaf springs.

We don’t poke the pram, Why are you here? Did the neighbors call?

No time to revise the obituary. What’s dead is dead. We wouldn’t

want an open casket in our hands. It would just be an argument

starter. Like: he makes more money than me. Like: if this isn’t

my thong, whose hips were thrust into it? Like: explosion.




Even Gymnasts Get Hurt


Safety comes first. Don’t merge

bank accounts. Don’t buy a house.

If you must, don’t put it in both

of your names. Never change

your last name. Don’t have a baby.

If you must, give it your good name.

Dot the i’s. Cross the t’s. Do this in pencil.


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