Today, we are prompted to write a poem containing an enigma or riddle. I am writing a sequence of poems about my brother, a former marine and athlete, who has contracted MS. Before he was diagnosed, he was very vulnerable, depressed, and being exploited by a neighbour who had taken money from him, promising to show him how to kill himself by using helium from one of those gas canisters they use to inflate party ballooons.
I thought I would write a poem to Helios, creating an enigma by references to mythology and heliotropic flowers. It began with a lot of refernces to the sun and noble gases, but in the end, I decided to cut most of that out and just tell it like it is, just not naming the gas. I guess this means the poem isn’t really an enigma or riddle, but I can use it in the sequence of poems, so that’s okay.
The veteran rests on crumpled sheets.
Legs numb, he shuffles five feet west
to let his carers through the door.
He’s decades from the days he ran
through fields of gold, his lungs on fire.
His life drags on, devoid of any grace;
pain will increase, it can’t get less.
Best opt for sleep, leave sad snail’s pace
behind; let others clear away the mess.
Now, noblest element, is your time.
Suicide simple via an online search:
rubber piping, plastic hood and you.
Hood slipped over his head, a soothing hiss
ushers in a sweet and final peace.