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This poem is taken from PN Review 268, Volume 49 Number 2, November - December 2022.

‘from sky doc’ Joe Carrick-Varty
Once upon a time when suicide was getting everything I need
then I’m gone but it’s not stealing

violence and all the self-harm that lilts

boys will be boys someone said

when we lined up on that hill

overlooking the city maybe

we had come to finish our fathers

maybe to finish ourselves


Once upon a time when suicide was say the magic word
and uncle Gary will appear I once

opened the door to my dad’s middle brother

having not seen him in two years

he looked pink it was bonfire night

my dad hanging a Catherine wheel

recounted to a neighbour his brother

on our doorstep full up on class A


Once upon a time when suicide was not the least bit romantic
one Christmas my nana ran a bath

and never came back my dad had this plan
...


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