Two Poems

Killing Myself

The thought of killing myself
always cheers me up.

Picture it:
me, sprawled naked on the bathroom floor
or purple in the tub.
My method varies, but it usually involves a hairdryer.
(“Excuse me, Miss, Could you tell me which model carries the highest voltage?”)

Of course, I’ll never actually do it.
Too many problems:
how much food to leave out for the cats
the right tone for the suicide note
whether or not to have something garlicky for that final meal.

It would be a waste not to give away my money first
and I can never decide who to give it to.
Besides, my CDs never mature at the same time;
it would take months to give it all away
and by then I probably wouldn’t be depressed anymore.
I lack stamina.

The funniest thing about killing myself
are my reasons:
the meaninglessness of existence
that maniac on the floor below and his mind-numbing music
the fact that I throw away so much time each week
looking for my keys
over not having called my mother in so long
or world hunger and the destruction of the rain forests.
(What a suicide note that would make:
I’m ending it all
because even recycled toilet paper
uses some fresh pulp.)

I know that in reality
I’ll probably never kill myself
but it’s a nice thought all the same.


The Deep End

“I need you, Daddy. No!”
My toddler daughter,
unmoved by my assurance she could stand,
flailed near the surface of the water and
at every chance she grabbed my neck. She pressed
herself against my chest,
more sheltered there by me
than any woman had been or could be,

until an errant toe
touched down. The landing
transformed the vastness all around her there,
and suddenly my girl was standing where
a moment earlier she’d nearly drowned.
Chin raised, she looked around.
I smiled that I could view
this learning she was larger than she knew,

a sudden way to grow.
She clutched my finger–
a tight connection no one’s pull could break–
content, in this new world, to linger, take
her time exploring what the waves might hold.
She soon would grow more bold.
I struggled not to note
the chill of bare skin drying at my throat.



Max Gutmann has contributed to dozens of publications including New Statesman, The Spectator, Cricket, and an earlier issue of Green Hills Literary Lantern. His plays have appeared throughout the U.S. and have been well-reviewed (see<>). His book There Was a Young Girl from Verona sold several copies.