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Gilman chose chloroform over cancer

She picked the etherized rag over all

Tumbling into darkness like a dancer


An old ranch hand missing youths mystery

Hemingway took Chekov’s gun from the wall

And blasted himself into history


Rothko answered the Primitivists call

Slashing up his wrists in a rush of red

Fagan could fly, but in Rome chose to fall


Woolf stuffed the pockets of her overcoat

Worn atop her favorite dressing gown

With stones and drowned, fearing she’d missed the boat


Plath put out breakfast in old London town

Then sealed herself off with the gas left on

Sexton chose her car with the garage door down


Gros sank in the Seine like a yearling fawn

In like a lion, fished out like a sheep

How does one mistake Baron’s ease for brawn?


Poor Jeanne, despondent enough for two

Dove three stories into Stygian sleep

Days from the date her second child was due


While watching industry and commerce creep

Christopher Wood chose rustic scenes to paint

By train he gave his passage to the deep


Tchaikovsky toasted with cholera-taint

Amidst a Petersburg epidemic

The spectre of the failed sixth, his name saint


A man may break his bones with stone or stick

But van Gogh revolved around the quick sigh

Of stars burning to singe the vigils wick


Like Mayakovsky he died by the gun

The modern end to the everlasting

When the sun reveals what the moon has done

The bane of the clipper ships half-masting

As the daylight plays out how the war was won

Quicker than the pole rigged up for casting

Removed of worm so nimbly there is naught

Left with mind enough or tongue to be taught