francine j. harris

suicide note #10: wet condoms

Dear Blank,


If I start this off by saying he takes his wet condom when he leaves

then it’s more about him, less about the desire for evidence, more about

trust, less about the edge of the mattress and the falling sky. less about

the moment the litany turns to shatter inside the overhead light. Or  

the last time I saw my mother. more about a zygote in the toilet

or an infant he and i might have held. less about the neighbor

taking out the trash under my window, less about the burn

in my stomach.


If I keep this story up by saying I never even see him do it

then it’s more about unrequited desire, less about the silence of all spiders

more about how far a woman would go to trap a man, less about

the hyena’s bloody paw in any given trap.        more about

how a man must stay free and less about the patterns on the floor –

how they turn from order to distance, how they trail off to what might turn up

murdered in the hallway. It is more about what anyone wouldn’t do to be a mother

less about the old man on the balcony in a coughing fit. It is more about the boundaries

the fences, the walls, and less about this goddamn light through the leaves.

how I don’t know the word for that. how there must be a word for that.

It’s easy to die. It’s the easiest thing we can do.


and if I end this by saying I looked for it. everywhere.

then it is more about what I wouldn’t do to stay alive

less about wanting to remember someone was inside me.



“suicide note #10: wet condoms” first appeared in Indiana Review, 2012, and is from play dead (Alice James Books, 2016).