i prefer the darkness of a sunrise.

it is forgiving. non-judgmental.

it allows me to feel how i feel most mornings.

childless. motherless.

the guilt that comes along with it.

i remember all of my dreams.

in them i do everything differently.

write my history differently.

i erase losing loved ones to addiction

other diseases too; depression and self-loathing.

erase drinking at an early age.

erase dating losers at all ages.

choosing the country over the city.

picking an introverted career like

helping my zio in southern italy herd his sheep

over working in behavioral health.

at age fifty not able to forgive myself

for appreciating the darkness of the sunrise.

--

--

“Dad, I tested positive for COVID.”

“What?”

“Dad, I cannot come Christmas Eve.”

In the tradition of my Italian culture, fish is eaten on Christmas Eve. This would be the first Christmas Eve my dad ever hosted without my mom.

He was proud when he told me he found the perfect dried cod. “It soaks for days to get all the salt out. It will be ready and perfect on Friday.”

I had perfected a chilled grey goose vodka and cranberry juice since testing positive. On our nightly video chat, perfected drink in hand, my father asked with a sincere and thoughtful tone, “What the hell am I going to do with all this fish?”

--

--

i am not sure when

i stopped breathing

i was so good. for so long.

taking a deep breathe in

1.2.3.4.

my lungs filled with air

unlike decades ago.

camel cigarette smoke for as long

as i could hold it.

breathe out circles slowly.

i felt a warm buzz that lasted

from the time i sat at the bar

on rusty a stool with ripped plastic

my skinny self

stared at you playing pool

quit cigarettes before i ever quit you.

1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.

ahhhhhhhhhh. i breathe out.

--

--

i can finally sit in a place that honors you mom.

not the 6-roommate house with a dirty couch

even dirtier carpet.

you never got to see it.

i use your memory

in the way i keep this place

the way i shop for bargains at marshall’s.

the way i…

--

--

i finally whisper these words to myself

“i will die someday.”

i could never imagine in my 50 years that i would say that.

i finally did. just a few days ago.

i realized i will probably die after my 82 year old father who relies on our 7:30 am, 12:30 pm, 5:30 pm, and 7:30 pm daily calls.

my husband will be fine.

i was able to reconcile in my mind that the 2 most important human beings in my life since my mother died will be dead. or okay.

there is a sense of, i take a deep breath in, slow deep breath out

that i will die. and be okay.

--

--

adriana suriano

adriana suriano

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.