Mysteries of Suicide #1

by Carolin Messier

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Last night I dreamt
of guns and bullets,
but this time
I held the pistol
and my finger
pulled the trigger.

It was fully loaded
when I picked it up.
Ten bullets,
each in its own place,
all neatly arranged
and ready to fire.

In my novice hand
it was weighty,
dangerous, and lethal
exactly as I had imagined
and always feared,
but I felt nothing.

On the wall was a page
of my own writing:
indecipherable,
hung at the height
of a crucifix
above a doorway.

I looked up at it
and aimed.
My right arm outstretched,
my eyes focused
along its length,
and fired.

The first bullet struck
to the right of the page
the second, third and fourth
shredded words and lines;
the fifth through ninth
made lace of my prose.

When I pulled the trigger
for the tenth time
there was only a click.
I finally exhaled
realizing then
I’d been holding my breath.

I lowered my arm
relieved, but no closer
to understanding
why out of ten
he’d been found
with seven unfired.