suicide doors

Waiting at the Luncheon Counter for My Tuna Melt 

This is—remember—
this is not the way your life will turn
out as you listen to, as you overhear two old
men talk about Walter Benyen. One knew him well
the other was his nephew. He died

(didn’t he?) they ask each other,
reaching for a bit of dry toast, a sip of bitter
coffee with that same abandoned air you saw
in a man walking through North Park
holding an empty leash, and in the pages

of the hardbound book you saw fluttering
after each passing car, staying where it landed
in the crosswalk down the street. But you wonder
why a book gets tossed, if a dog is ever found.
You thought to stop to read the title, to search

for the dog, but you didn’t. And you don’t
ask now which one is Joe when you stand
at the jukebox, studying the note taped
to the glass: Don’t play G7 if Joe is here.
It brings him bad memories.


Published in Barnwood International Poetry Review

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

8 responses to “suicide doors

  1. crisp and sad and feels true

    • redmitten

      the book, the jukebox, the empty leash, the men at the counter- all in something like one week. what is the book in the road saying? the man with the empty leash? good to hear from you.

  2. kmerrifi

    Still touching…and true.

  3. a wind blew through me as i read this – a cold wind – but it is the kind i am grateful for. there is an emptiness in the middle of these words that echoes the way i am feeling now, after the loss of my father. but the emptiness is surrounded by a delicate beauty and a clear ring of truth.

    you are so gifted in your sparing and searing use of language, sherry.

    • redmitten

      amanda, that cleansing wind. one we’d like to do without, and yet, it must be. your tribute to your father was a fine thing and helped me to know you better as i see him now in your words and the choices you make in your life. thank you for your kind words about mine. love to you, sherry

  4. Suburban Soliloquist

    Oh, oh my! This is why we get out for lunch. The theme of abandonment is so powerful–evokes so much emotion. A thing is here. And then is not. A loved one, a cherished book, grandmother’s precious wood carved jewelry box. Were they deliberately cast, willingly go, neglected, or taken from us without our consent? G7s can be so painful.

    Beautiful piece, Sherry.

    • redmitten

      jayne, you’ve written a poem in your response. so lovely this: a thing is here. and then it is not.

      i also like considering how it is we do move through life with so much control in some aspects that we come up short when we are reminded that much does happen without our consent. which is what makes G7 powerful.

      lovely to hear from you. sherry

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