Quitting [poem] by Autumn McClintock

for Clyde

Story goes: he woke one morning, coughed up blood,
and threw the last pack in the trash.

Must’ve smoked 45 years.
This is the kind of man.       Now

a metal box shaped like a treasure chest,
full of ashes: lungs, throat, still-yellowed fingers,

the orange-sized tumor that got him anyway.
I don’t mean to be crass. I dig

how in the end he didn’t call or ache
to be seen, didn’t take the treatment.
Enough is enough.

Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This poem put the editors in mind of Nancy Priff’s poem “Tithonus Cries ‘Enough!’.”]

Image by Morgan

Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia and works at the public library. Poems of hers have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from Carolina Quarterly, Citron Review, The Collagist, Redivider, RHINO, THRUSH, and Weave Magazine, among others. Her essay, “Responsible for Death,” appears in the anthology The Poet’s Sourcebook, published by Autumn House Press (no relation) in 2013. She is on the poetry editorial staff of Ploughshares.