Laura Sminchak, “Slow No Wake”

Laura Sminchak’s poems have appeared in publications such as From Whispers to Roars and Cathexis Northwest Press, among others. She lives in Ohio and is a licensed attorney. She spends her time adventuring with her young children and jumping into rabbit holes. You can find her on Instagram at @laura_writes_words.

orange line

Slow No Wake

the voice broke over the phone
I imagined her wail a cackle
for a split second I thought
you were with us
what a riot
what a hideous thing to do
you were never too stuffy for a prank
laughter thrown over your shoulder
rather than salt
you were never cruel

the voice says dead found dead
the idea deafening,
a frenzied bee loose in my brain
see how the blood rushes up to my ears
to stop me hearing it
then I only feel the word
my chest reverberates to it
like a struck gong
dead dead dead
my God
I hate the word
I hate it for you
the farthest from death of all of us
your life a footrace between you
and the cynic’s relentless temperance
arbitrary limits bent on
smothering your flames

you could not outrun a pandemic or despair
or perhaps a tiny vascular weakness
waiting tucked inside all along
I won’t say it was lurking
I won’t vilify some cluster of ne’er do well cells
misguided distracted strands of DNA

what I mean is only that I’ll try
my very best
not to bore you
not to blame you
not to vilify your cells
not to vilify my own

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