San Juan, Puerto Rico
It was almost my 28th birthday,
& it would’ve been easier for the bullet to burn
me out, almost like candles,
so bright & so fast.
How do you tell someone that loves you
you looked in the mirror
& almost surprised yourself?
How sure you were, willing & unafraid,
that this is what you wanted?
That plane back to Pittsburgh I almost didn’t board,
the gun I almost dreamed up
to paint the bed linen in that cheap hotel
you never even knew the name of,
the trigger the guiding light
through all of the dark only I knew.
How almost deafening the sound
of a heart still beating
& that heavy breath of life
almost too suffocating
Kara Knickerbocker is the author of The Shedding Before the Swell (2018) and Next to Everything that is Breakable (2017). She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she works at Carnegie Mellon University, writes with the Madwomen in the Attic at Carlow University, and co-curates the MadFridays Reading Series. Find her online at www.karaknickerbocker.com.