Three Poems – Erin Schick

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Reflections on the difference between thanatophobia and joie de vivre

I say I’m dying
and no one believes me
or I say I’m dying
and everyone agrees
or I say I’m dying
and there’s no one left to hear

I’m dying and everything matters
and none of it 
I haven’t moved in days
and, magically, neither has the house
my bedroom floor is a mass grave
of clothes that do not fit
last week I said
in the morning, I will start the dishwasher
tonight it is still full
but it is still night
all of these problems I cannot solve

I just sleep 
and sleep
and stare inside myself

the Netflix queue is full 
of interesting movies I haven’t seen yet
instead I am watching the fourth season of 
grey’s anatomy 
for the tenth time this year
because I know how it ends

I want to know how this ends
what parts I’m supposed to cry at
which characters survive ‘till the finale
how the plot fits together 

it’s got to fit together in the end
my life is an equation 
I flip over and over in my mind
if I solve it before the clock runs out
maybe it won’t
if I figure out what my life means
before it’s over
maybe death becomes less permanent

I am dying and all I can think is
for the first time
I am so certain I’m alive 



We Heard The Bridge

I spent most of high school thinking about music. Like any teen 
in a suicide cluster, I understood the importance of the song 
played at my funeral. I knew it would explain more than I ever could. 

We all picked one friend who promised to tell our parents that 
Rylie wants Slipknot’s Wait and Bleed 
David, Queen - Another One Bites The Dust 
Austin wants Landslide but only the Stevie Nicks version 

We knew the significance of it being our choice. Writing the soundtrack to 
a party we would be remembered for. How else would our parents understand 
until they heard the bridge the way we heard the bridge? We couldn’t imagine 
anything more tragic than dying before someone else had heard our song. 

And what is a funeral if not a final chance to play it loud and a room 
full of people finally listening?



Perimortem

There is something rotting in the walls of the apartment
it smells the strongest when I am there to notice
the stench is so much like my own, I forget to hate it
I am appalled by the filth, 
when there is someone here to be appalled at

I don’t move from the bed anymore
this will be my grave soon, if it isn’t yet
every night I die here
and keep waking up

I say hello to the neighbor three times
and he doesn’t answer
I wonder how long I have been a shadow

scientists call conditions like mine 
a ghost illness
it kills a person from the inside
and cannot be seen by others
the dead thing – it has been me all along
I am haunting myself

soon I will be a real ghost
I will die and not wake up
and the people who knew me will die
and I will die again with them
as if I were never here

as if the dead thing rotting in the walls
has always been there
as if it slept in its grave every night
until we only knew it was there by the smell


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About Erin Schick

Erin Schick is a convincingly lifelike robot currently being stored in Portland, Oregon. They are a master of dinosaur noises, easily distressed by sunlight, and too tall to be a hobbit. Contrary to popular belief, Erin is indeed capable of simulating human emotion. View all posts by Erin Schick

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