90: Villanelle of the Suicide’s Mother

90: Villanelle of the Suicide’s Mother

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255.

Villanelle of the Suicide’s Mother
by C.K. Williams

Sometimes I almost go hours without crying,
Then I feel if I don’t, I’ll go insane.
It can seem her whole life was her dying.

She tried so hard, then she was tired of trying;
Now I’m tired, too, of trying to explain.
Sometimes I almost go hours without crying.

The anxiety, the rage, the denying;
Though I never blamed her for my pain,
It can seem her whole life was her dying,

And mine was struggling to save her: prying,
Conniving: it was the chemistry in her brain.
Sometimes I almost go hours without crying.

If I said she was easy, I’d be lying;
The lens between her and the world was stained:
It can seem her whole life was her dying

But the fact, the fact, is stupefying:
Her absence tears at me like a chain.
Sometimes I almost go hours without crying.
It can seem her whole life was her dying.

"Villanelle of the Suicide’s Mother," from COLLECTED POEMS by C.K. Williams. Copyright © 2007 by C.K. Williams. Used by permission of Macmillan.

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