Remain by Michelle Askin

The night before last night I tried to kill myself.
I opened the freezer and looked for ice cubes.
I was thirsty afterwards. There was no one to call
except an Indian man on a hotline from Austin, Texas,
who told me to go on a brisk walk to see if I could separate
the red from violet leaves with the help of street lamps.
I loved him for an hour, and didn’t go through with it—
the suicide. I had no one to be sad over my death.
At church, the pastor went on about a hospitality ministry
at movie nights in the nearby gated community.
Then we made crafts for the church Christmas tree.
He kept saying through the microphone where to put
the glitter and how to fold the angel wings.
I have a learning disability that prevents me from shaping
my hands a certain way. I would write a memoir about it
but I’m not slightly famous and don’t have my own
blog—so really there would be no happy ending
for the memoir. I would simply remain the character
who could not move her hands fast enough for church crafts.
The week after my suicide attempt, I stayed in a room
with a Spanish nurse’s aide who gave me saint cards,
rosary beads, and stories of piggybacking
drunk on her boyfriend all through Adams Morgan
when the salsa and hip hop clubs all closed
down for the night or early morning.
You should go out more, she said.
When you’re better, we will metro into the city.
It was a promise, something I could hold softly
for a while in someone else’s wet mouth.

Michelle Askin
Michelle AskinMichelle Askin’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in 2River View, Oranges & Sardines, Offcourse, Willard & Maple, Verdad, and elsewhere. She works and lives in Virginia.