Marianna Boncek

My Father’s Senicide

I put him on the ice floe
and watched him float
down the winter river.
It wasn’t as hard as you think.
When he made me his healthcare proxy,
I’m sure he had images
of coma or brain death.
He certainly wasn’t thinking
of a body that wouldn’t give
out and a brain that functioned
like an Escher painting.

I checked boxes
like ordering Chinese Food:
no IV,
no feeding tube,
no medications other than to treat pain.
When he stopped eating
the nurse assured me
it would be a matter of weeks.
He lasted nine more months.
The undertaker said
it looked like he died of dehydration.
So, that is how I ended up doing it.

My brothers all said
I was better at these things.
I’m not really.
It’s just that they wanted
to sleep well.
The sad truth is
I sleep better now, too.
No more calls at 3 a.m.
to tell me he’s fallen again
or to ask if they can give him
a shot of something
to make him sleep.

This year
my daffodils
did not bloom.
I wonder
if they will bloom
next year


Marianna Boncek is an author, scholar, and researcher. Her poems have been published in a variety of journals. Her poem “Bittersweet” won the 2021 Stephen DiBiase prize for poetry. She has more degrees than necessary which makes her generally too educated to be employable, but she has been subversively teaching high school English for more years than her current students have been alive. She reads and writes Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs. She lives with her partner, Dave, in one of New York’s most famous small towns.