Love Note to a suicide (Evelyn McHale)

This picture is from Life Magazine. On May 1, 1947, Evelyn McHale fell to her death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Photographer Robert Wiles took a photo of McHale a few minutes after her death.

I saw this picture in a library as a boy and thought she was the prettiest dead lady I'd ever seen. For real. I don't even want to know what that says about me, doctor, but it makes for some poetry sometimes.

So here she is again, the tragic Evelyn McHale, through the magic of the Internet, and now I have something to say.


You always were a shining star
despite what you were always told
Stay just the way you are,
never ever let yourself grow old.

Though your heart was truly scarred
by what you thought they thought
Your exit choice was just too hard
to win the fight that you fought.

And how am I to simply carry on?
I am undone by your last faithless leap.
No flowers in fields, no manicured lawn
Your memorial is all that is left to keep.

You held your beauty even in death
your style was yet quite committed,
And with your final mint-sweet breath
your apologies you scarcely omitted.

How I wish I had known how to hold your heart
With the grace and the love it deserved
For now we are fated to forever be apart
as the track of your life’s ending swerved.

Would that I could undo your last deed
And walk with you under warm summer skies.
If only I was able to answer the cold need
that I still see in your death-dimmed eyes.

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