An Editor Suggests Revisions - Donal Mahoney

Yours is the first email I opened this morning. 
I appreciate your suggested revisions and invitation 
to send the work back once I've made the changes. 
I can tell you spent a lot of time analyzing my efforts. 
I'm afraid, however, that I can't make the revisions 
although I feel I should compensate you for your work. 

It is to that end that I took your name to Rebecca. 
I showed her your suggestions and she said your name 
would be introduced at the next gathering of her coven. 
She asked if I had suggestions for revisions to your life 
and I said I did and that she might want to take notes.
I said I thought it might be best to have your organs 
rot one at a time while your heart remains strong 
so you die at a leisurely pace. 

She said that could be arranged 
although it was an unusual request. 
In similar cases, when dispatching someone
who has insulted another, she has found
the insulted usually wants the insulter 
sent off as quickly as possible. 
I'm unusual, she said, in that respect.
I told her I didn't want to be heartless 
and have you die before you have time
to put your affairs in order. 

I reminded her not to inflict cancer 
on your pancreas too early because 
medicine has yet to find a cure for that. 
In short order, cancer of the pancreas 
means lights out, no lingering about. 

I suggested the cancer start in your gall bladder, 
move on to your kidneys, then to your lungs 
and then to your brain. That will keep 
the doctors busy while you waste away. 
I suggested she save your pancreas for last. 

I also asked her to let me know when 
your pancreas becomes fully involved 
so I can make plane reservations 
to come and say good-bye.

In the meantime, may your next issue 
be stillborn. No reason to make it 
different from the last.

- - -

Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at