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A white skull on a pedestal wears a black crown
Photo by Payton Tuttle on Unsplash

I’ve killed myself hundreds of times,
but I never bury the remains.
Wouldn’t matter if I did,
because all of them are only half dead.
Cadavers animated by the animosity of a lost life,
they come to reclaim what was once their own,
the means for life to be lived.
I defend myself valiantly,
but pain lingers longer now,
and I can’t tell the difference between them
and “me.”
Who am I, who is this?
This version of me so sure of his ideals,
as if my confirmations for dogmatic perspectives were any less
for the ones I have killed.
Thoughts like this,
interrupted as I trip over limbs
and broken promises,
shake me
down to my core.
I wonder which version of myself
will come
and dethrone me at last.
Long live the king.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Rahja Rose is a poet incarcerated in Arizona. They are using a pseudonym.