failed her

“Failed Her”, “Ashes to Dust” and “Broken”

by Autumn Slaughter

Failed her

I failed

her. Was not

good enough because

no one can ever be

good enough to carry

the burdens of the

dying on their backs, to

be blessed with the

baggage of existential

emotion that makes life so

sweet as to make it unbearable

and the dying is a welcome

friend willing to end the

disintegration of the soul into

the sickening sweetness

and replace it with the cool

breeze of nothing. No one is

good enough for the one reaching

out of the blinding light and

clear darkness, reaching into the

world of the living while surrendering

to whatever might lie

beyond. I failed her because I

could not understand. Could not hold

her hand in a way that means anything

more than pressure on the nerves.

But no one

could.

Ashes to Dust

Be ashes rather than


dust. For the function

of man is not to

exist it is to live. And

that living is up to

him for the universe

is ultimately uninterested

in his existence.


But what is the

difference? Exist

is to have an objective

reality. To be in a way

that is fact. Live has

more meanings. Can

mean to have an exciting,

fulfilling life.


Fulfill is to

satisfy a condition.

Bring to completion.


Exist. Be real

in a way that

cannot be denied.

Live. Bring to

completion this

project that is

humanity.


Exist. Be.

Live. Art.


I rather be

ashes. and

dust.

Broken

I broke on

Friday night.

Wednesday

morning. A

Monday after

noon.


The dictionary calls

the word archaic.

old-fashioned. An

outdated way of

breaking.

a verb. Meaning

to become inoperative,

to put an end to,

to pause, to stop

oneself, to

fail, to crush

the emotional

strength, destroy

the effectiveness

of.


on Friday night.

Wednesday

morning. A

Monday after

noon.


I did the old

fashioned

thing. And

stopped.

paused. Put

an end to

movement.

Allowed room

for being


human.

About the Author

Autumn Slaughter

Autumn Slaughter is a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Tulsa. In 2017 Autumn’s poetry was part of the third annual TEDx Tulsa event. Autumn's poetry has appeared in the Paragon Journal and an Oklahoma anthology.