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2022 Issue  >  Poetry  >  Water and a death certificate

“Pamet, 2018, acrylic on camouflage fabric, 34 x 26 inches"
by Richard Moninski

Water and a death certificate

Kelsey Bigelow

Deceased’s Name

Kimberly Irene Haug

It’s said that water has memory

and I’m rarely thirsty

but today my mouth’s a drought

begging for life to return

How did Momma’s diet of Capri Sun

cola and coffee never remind me 

to live hydrated

Cause of Death

Multiple Myeloma

Kidney failure and a flatline

should prove the need but

it’s said that water has memory

and sometimes you don’t

want to remember the seizures

faintings or pill cases

Date Last Seen Alive

November 15, 2014

but today I’m desperate

I take a sip from the glass

of the stale water on my desk

feel its cool clarity clear my throat 

and hear her plan to buy flavored water 

when she got out of the hospital

not knowing the next day

she’d leave

Time of Death

11:15 AM

It’s said that water has memory

and maybe that’s why I don’t drink it

Kelsey Bigelow is a professional poet who graduated from UW-Platteville in 2017. She has since self-published her debut chapbook, Sprig of Lilac, in 2018, released a spoken word album, Depression Holders and Secret Keepers, in 2021, and has been published in Backchannels Journal and Z Publishing House. Find Kelsey:

Trained as a painter, Richard Moninski makes work that explores the systematization of nature, the decorative impulse, the choices between representation and abstraction, and the history and culture of specific places. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited nationally. He resides in Mineral Point, WI.

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