The Maier Museum of Art
at Randolph College

2015 Calvert Award: “Your Suicide Note” by Grace Gardiner ’15

Your Suicide Note

by Grace Gardiner ’15
after Kukuli Velarde’s Letter to My Father

Kukuli Velarde, Letter to My Father, 2005, acrylic on steel.

Kukuli Velarde, Letter to My Father, 2005, acrylic on steel. Purchase made possible by the Estate of Bethea Scott Owen in memory of her sister Helen Owen Calvert ’93, 2013.

Red   I want you red Red like the night the horses loosed
themselves from the stables, the moon a squirming, tortured
hue   Red like the cheeks of the child who watched, as I watch
now, the auburn hay burning, again, still that child
still your child

Red like your words on the steel of the spine   Red like
vessels shot raw by the salt of the eye   Red like the blood
you’ve left, the only link between us

There is not enough skin on the steel of my spine to cease
the red of your words, how I watch you continue to bleed
red like the water in the copper-tin, red like the horses
running, manes bathed in fire

How do I escape you, outrun the horses bathed in the
burning of the hay, their auburn manes running
in the wind like the words I’ve read each night since you
burned in the salt of my eye?

I am stuck, here, waiting for the moon’s rising
for the torture of its light to link us, to burn my cheeks
to squirm raw in the water’s copper-tin

Red   I hate you red I love you red I need you red   there is
nothing left but red, your blood in the moonlight, fire
in the stables, horses burning along the steel of their spines
water running red, tortured, red, the link of us left
in your burning