You read Vonnegut for the first time
when you’re sixteen years old, and
after that, every time you stab, slice, shoot,
every time you throw a match
into an open grave, you think,
so it goes.
It makes you feel good,
a little fuzzy, like
you’re unstuck, and you think, it’s okay
you’ll just be dead for a while.
Your father dies on a hospital floor.
Your brother bleeds onto your hand, his hair
in your mouth, pressed against your neck.
People die in your arms, people who leave
the battlefield behind, who don’t
wake up in bed five minutes
twenty years later and live.
People don’t just get to be dead
for a while. This isn’t fucking Tralfamadore.
So it does not fucking go.
Vonnegut tells you that time
is pearls on a string.
Every moment has already been and will
always be. You say, “Fuck that.”
You cut the string.
Pearls before swine.
Your headstone will read It was ugly
from beginning to end,
and it hurt like hell every second.
Vonnegut dies when you’re twenty-eight.
He falls down the stairs.
So it goes.
There is no such thing
as an honorable death.