Nobody gets to kill you but me

Nobody gets to kill you but me, said your Irish twin.
Too bloody right just her—ask bully boy.
You were eight, she was nine, and he was
that day all of forty-eight stitches from eternity;
she swung a mean shovel, she did—for you.

But damn her diagnosis took too long.
The surgeries were botched,
the years wore on,
the brunt of the pain was carried
until it could be carried no more…

You’ve wept enough, your hands are clean,
so let her go, she’s gone.
She wasn’t just talking to you.

Recently a dear friend’s beloved older sister committed suicide after many years of a debilitating and pain-ridden illness. The story in this poem is true: both my friend and her sister were, when children, digging a hole to China (and why not?!) when my friend was accosted by a bully, much to his quick lament because her older sister whoomphed him with her shovel. And ‘nobody gets to kill you but me‘ is exactly what the older sibling—during their many shared escapades—would say to her sister.

Love isn’t always easy; love isn’t always pretty; and love doesn’t always end up or go where you want it to. But it is binding, forever.

Thank you for reading Nobody gets to kill you but me. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken at The Grand Canyon. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “Nobody gets to kill you but me

  1. Kathleen Johnson

    Wow, unlike you, you blessed and talented man, I have no words. Just wow. Love this.

    • Kathleen, I am so very lucky to have you, the Greatest and Smartest and Most Discerning Critic in the world, drop by and read my work! Thank you so very much for your very, very kind words. They are most appreciated, believe me. 🙂

  2. Pete Hulme

    Such a strong sense of their relationship conveyed in so few words.