Death Trilogy: A Poem

death trilogy.
by Jennifer Patino

it’s gonna come in threes. every stellar tragedy
ground out like last night’s cigarette. a three
chord rebellion, one that sounds the same
as all the favorites but this one,
this one is different.     you see, one of these
days he’s gonna succeed. statistic-dom.
working hard crunching the numbers
like pistachios littering the pizza box table.
the broken record still plays in the corner,
scratching away like ma’s voice. Newport laced.
i saw his sweater & tried not to cry.
i read his letter about wanting to die
& i wrote back some positive quotes
because he told me at the coffee shop
that he always found them helpful.
useless. because now they’re calling
everything toxic as long as it
fits the facade.

we have matching trios. fork tine tattoos
heated up on the old school stove, glowing
orange rings embedded onto retinas
& shining scars on our arms. we were never
proud of this, nor were we ashamed about
constantly running away       with ourselves
with the goal being to         avoid ourselves
& we failed at dying before, but i swear
things always come in threes. he made
the dead lighter work with three magic
sparks & it would never answer to another
flick again. he made the last three oranges
last to the point of hunger & the stage
just before rotting & they tasted
like rebirth. he told me three times
that he had to go that night on the phone
before finally hanging up.

i’m always finding great movies, but they’re
the second or third in a trilogy & i can
never track down the others. films as friends
that leave. ones you never find again.
forget their names. remember their faces
when you see them in dreams. i had three dreams
of him before it really happened. three months
apart between psych visits. three days
in limbo. like christ in the tomb.
but today he doesn’t think he’s Jesus.
today he’s just his sad self.
three afghans to the gulf breeze.
going for the trifecta in the life gamble.
rolling three joints for the day. he didn’t
get to the last. never saw the third
installment. triple dipped out early.

three birds sat on the railing taunting me.
i called them crows but i couldn’t be sure.
i want them to bury me three feet under
because i only ever lived half way.
i tried to conjure him with trinity
chanting of his nickname. i flipped
the light switch off, then on, then off
again. the faucet dripped three times.
then all was silent. like snowfall.
like a winter death.

January 5, 2023

Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

Published by Jennifer Patino


18 thoughts on “Death Trilogy: A Poem

  1. A great poem, Jennifer. I like how you have woven in the fact that when we see something (in this case ‘threes’), they appear everywhere. Making sense of the gaps in everything around us (at least to me).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so vivid; absolutely incredible, Jennifer. I feel the repitition of 3s ascribes to my belief of “there’s no such thing as coincidences.” I think this is one of my favs x

    Liked by 1 person

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