Final Instructions

Shanna Germain


Do not come to me with words of comfort—
it's going to be okay, you're going to
a better place—as though you rode a train or
plane to Death's borders, stepped inside just to see
if it was a place I might like—tree-lined streets,
a good café, bookstore on the corner with
shelves and shelves of Dorothy, Sylvia
and the one good book of mine.

They only sell one-way tickets, so
stop holding my hand and saying Paradise
like it's the one place you've been dying
to get to but haven't had the time.

Do that, do that, and when I cross that black line
to the corner bookstore, I promise to bypass
the revolving rack of postcards, promise not
to sit and write, wish you were here. 


Shanna Germain is a poet by nature, a short story writer by the skin of her teeth, and a novelist in training. Shanna lives in Portland, Oregon. Her award-winning work has been widely published in places like Absinthe Literary Review, Best American Erotica 2007, Eclectica, Juked and The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. She is a fiction editor for Clean Sheets and 42Opus and is on the editorial board for the American Journal of Nursing and Poetry NW.  View more of her work online at