I remember-Nathan McCool

man-2445281_960_720Here I am,

the king of letting good things die.

My fingers are dark magic talismans, and sometimes they’re wrapped around everything.

My lungs have evolved to only breath air violated with toxins and rot.

But most importantly,

my burning, black skull remembers it all.


I remember being a child struck dumb and motionless beneath my mother. That midnight skull still wears the scar where it was cracked open on the concrete.

I remember the sound of the gun

while watching a suicide. And sometimes I still taste my friend’s brain matter in my mouth.

I remember my father slicing him arms open with cheap knives while he stood at my daughter’s grave.

My eyes still sting every now and then and I think maybe it’s his blood still clinging there where I tried to wipe the tears.

I remember the sound of a phone ringing

the night a sweet, distant friend hung

herself in her bedroom.

And I still wake in the morning with my hair knotted into a hangman’s noose.


Most of all I remember my daughter.

I remember her tiring herself out laughing and struggling to say the words “I love you”

because those were the words I always tried to teach her first. So she’d never forget.

I remember going to sleep next to her


And when I opened my eyes, her skin was like lavender – purple and soft.

I ran for miles with her limp body,

begging for help. My feet tearing wide open on the hot pavement.


So here I am,

in my bed, alone and helpless. Hopeless.

I’m stuck between Walter Anderson paintings and a hand-carved, quartz chess set and a a mountain of books and an army of musical instruments.

And I think maybe that’s all I got.

I listen to Soulsavers play

“You Will Miss Me When I Burn”

and I just feel like it’s a lie.

When you have no one, everything hurts you.

And most nights I want to die

more than anything else wants to live.

But already I’m a ghost of all my failure, and that’s the most alive I’ll ever be.

Nathan McCool is a survivor and a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.  You can read more of his haunting writing on Instagram at God Of Dregs.

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