If I die tomorrow (Day 6)

Please make a fucking fuss

I traveled halfway around the world to be something

You will not not cry as if my dying means nothing

Once I thought I was


I thought I could disappear and no one would even know

Or care

I liked disappearing

I made a career out of running away

when I first discovered the power of flight.

If I die tomorrow I hope it will be easy

I denounce difficulty

Hard work is too hard

Yet I did wash dishes 10 hours a day

I did walk in below zero temperature to get to work

clutching my lungs as if they were going to fall out

I did wait tables and dealt with messy eaters

Filled up empty condiment bottles with ketchup, soy sauce and vinegar

Smiled until my face hurt for an extra dollar tip

I did take care of children who colored their sky pink and their monsters, purple

When first I crossed the border and my savings ran out

I wanted to go back home

There, where people thought I could be something

I wanted to stay a teenager on my friend’s porch

Drink gin and seven up at dusk

Play mahjong all night

Smoke stolen marlboros until my lungs hurt and my throat, torn to shreds

Pray I do not wake choking in puke and blood-tainted phlegm.

Sometimes the things that keep us alive are the things that kill us

Remember the white guy in Kung Fu found dead in a closet?

Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston?

The water was still warm in the tub when they found her

And what about that pretty young thing who inched her way to the brink to catch that perfect selfie?

Did she even get to post it?

If I die tomorrow, sure, say some prayers, although I prefer poetry

Toasts and tales and yes, a little karaoke

My dog would lay on my side of the bed waiting for me to pet her

I know at least my daughter would cry

She always cried when sending me off at the airport

I know my husband would tell jokes

And my son would smoke weed all day and hide his grief in the fog.

About filinthegap

Lani T. Montreal is an educator, writer, performer, and community activist. Her writings have been published and produced in Canada, the U.S., the Philippines and in cyberspace. Among her plays are: Panther in the Sky, Gift of Tongue, Looking for Darna, Alien Citizen, Grandmother and I, and her most-toured comedy drama about gender and immigration, titled Sister OutLaw. She is the recipient of the 2015 3Arts Djerassi Residency Fellowship for Playwriting, 2008 3Arts Ragdale Residency Fellowship, the 2001 Samuel Ostrowsky Award for her memoir “Summer Rain,” and was finalist for the 1995 JVO Philippine Award for Excellence in Journalism for her environmental expose “Poison in the River.” Lani holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University. She teaches writing at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago and writes a blog called “Fil-in-the-gap”. (filinthegap.com.) She lives (and loves) in Albany Park, Chicago with her multi-species, multi-cultural family.
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2 Responses to If I die tomorrow (Day 6)

  1. Francis Tagasa says:

    I read this several times and wonder if I write the same, what would I say. I am just me. I cringe thinking if someone would cry too when I die tomorrow. I hope someone would – at least I know my Mom would. But reading this made me think what it would be like to watch your own funeral and listen to what people say about you. Have I been a good person. Being alone at times is good but turning 50 next years scares as I am not sure what to expect. Keep on writing I love reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • filinthegap says:

      Thank you for this comment, my dear. I’ve been behind work and school stuff so I haven’t updated my blog, but I will. I wrote this after watching an episode of Better Things, the show about a single mom with three girls. In that episode, she asked them straight out what they would say at her funeral. They were joking around, but she was serious and walked out in anger. I mean, after all she’d done for them, right?


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