What to Include In My Obituary

by Shannon J. Curtin


Tell them I loved you five hundred thousand words strong, shotgun blasted my love throughout the internet and its infinite memory. Say I made a rainy Saturday feel like a celebration, a trip to the grocery store a lottery win.  Tell them of how I kept friendships like trinkets in my heart– always there and cherished if not always on display.  Tell them about the lavender I planted, the petunias, the lilacs; my omniscient love splattered around the yard in purple hues. Tell them I was the fiercest pirate, most polite tea-party guest, most wanted outlaw. Recite to them the lyrics of every song I made up in the car, each lullaby I hemmed to fit. Chuckle about how I liked drinking six packs more than having them. Read them a few orphaned lines and relay my request they be adopted. Muse about how I kept a time machine on my dresser disguised as perfume vials from each decade of my life. Recount how often I expressed gratitude for all of it, the love and the body and infants and the career and the sunsets. Remind them how I could live in each fragile day and still look forward to plans in the ones not promised. Tell them my cartwheels were still on point at the end.

Request, in lieu of flowers, guests take a child to a bookstore and say yes.

Ask that respects be paid at a local ice cream shop.

Insist on sprinkles.



Shannon J. Curtin is a poet, essayist, humor writer, and novelist whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Reader’s Digest, Scary Mommy, Points in Case, AARP, and other publications. Her first chapbook, File Cabinet Heart, was the 2014 winner of the ELJ Publications Mini-Collection Competition. Her second chapbook, Motherland, was published by Anchor & Plume Press in 2015. She is currently seeking representation for her debut young adult novel. She spends her non-working hours raising two kids with her husband, reading stacks of novels, and trying (and failing) to rid her home of dog hair.


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