With thoughtful steps she made sure that no friend
Would catch the drift of what she planned to do:
Bringing each correspondence to an end
Without the faintest hint that it was through,
Paying the last bill from the paper boy
And stopping his deliveries. She would break
No trust. She’d always tried not to annoy
People, even herself. Her one mistake
Was looking in the mirror as she died
And though the gunshot had been carefully placed
It struck her that to lie there found by men,
One eyeball dangling, powdered face defaced,
Would violate at last her long-kept pride,
But there was no more she could do, just then.

X. J. Kennedy will have two new books in the fall of 2007: In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus: New and Selected Poems (Johns Hopkins University Press) and Peeping Tom’s Cabin: Comic Verse 1928-2008 (BOA Editions).

First published in Measure, Volume 2 (2007)