There’s an ashtray lined with lipstick stained cigarettes and empty whiskey bottles refilled with regrets. The orange Rx containers rattle like church bells but they are not enough to sustain her. She will have to go and get more.

The room is covered in dust and dirty laundry. A room full of things that cannot get clean. She was supposed to be famous by now, an artist, to be published. She was supposed to be living up to all those lines she penned, not doing them. She is a mother absent her children. A missile lacking direction, meant to destroy a nation’s perceptions of what was possible for one woman to accomplish.

She was. But now she is suffocating on the plastic bag of mistakes tied tight around her head. Sucking away at her own air to find some kind of content. Stuck with a resentment of her own reflection. Passing needles instead of manuscripts. Forging train tracks not lyrics. Her face was going to be on albums and books not before and after pictures.

She was going to be the greatest writer, author, mother, lover, singer, speaker. You would have known her. They would have written on her tombstone “She was the most influential woman of our age”. But now her friends and family fear her proximity to the grave. Her funeral and whether or not they will have to plan it. What they will put on that slab of granite. How could they sum up her short life in a statement?

She wakes every afternoon saying “I am sad.” So on the day that she doesn’t wake up, all they can write is “She was.”


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