Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Cost of Living – James Roach

James Roach Author Photo

Cost of Living

I compose obituaries in my head
for friends who can’t promise
they’ll grow older.

She is survived by her question mark spine, genes that never fit right, and the truth that co-pays can’t buy serotonin. In lieu of flowers, please send someone to clean up the gun powder.

I wonder if it’s insulting to wear black
to the funerals of people
consumed by darkness.

She leaves behind her two cats, her impressive record collection, and the beam that held her thin, broken-necked body. In lieu of flowers, please send someone to cut the rope.

My selfish, fearful want
for them to exist
can’t unburden
them from the exhaustion
of living,
it’s the most agonizing thing
they do too often.

He is survived by the small, healed cuts on his arms and a closet of sweaters that made him feel safe. In lieu of flowers, please turn the blood-stained glass back into sandcastles.

Their cost of living has always been
more expensive than mine,
a price that breaks the
bank as often as it
breaks their hearts.

She leaves behind the bridge above the canyon floor. In lieu of flowers, please send all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to put her back together again.


Bio – James Roach (he/him) is most creative between the hours of up-too-late and is it even worth going to bed? He dug up his midwest roots to live in Olympia, Wa., not too far from some sleepy volcanoes and beaches to write home about. 

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