Suicide Runs

My grandma thinks suicide runs
in our family, that it skips
generations, that I am somehow safe


by virtue of her nephew’s immolation,
by the gun that hollowed out what was left of her dad
thirty years before I had anything to take away,


before I grew into questions,
into substance, into life and pain
and death and doubt,


attached to the moral of the conflagrated car
consuming some distant relative despite alleged attempts
to escape his convictions,


spit from the barrel too sharp and fast
an answer for a brain to contain
in the emptiness of its wrinkles,


but does she remember
the other quarters of my blood,


the manic depression that graduated
from institutions to prescription addictions,


the liquor of religion
and the religion of liquor,


the potential of my schizophrenic inheritance
from her own abusive husband,


did these madnesses pass my parents
to swim in the caustic currents coursing my capillaries,


or am I the emblematic evolution of hardship,
the odd conglomeration congealed in the knowledge of heredity?




I am my own hazard and harbor, unspoiled by spirit or superstition,


capable of strength and failure and resurrection, so long as my brain keeps firing.



About the Author

Steven O. Young Jr. lives on the rim of Detroit, where he received an MA from Oakland University and may be found painting the same floor over and over, typically by request and occasionally for pay. His works have been published or are forthcoming at Freeze Frame Fiction, 101 Words, The Drabble, Inklette, and West Trade Review.