Word Music

I love the sounds words make:
like nonchalant, my favourite,
onomatopoeic to a tee -
I say it as often as I can
and no one seems to mind.

Yet when I say
voluntary euthanasia,
that lyrical term of release,
a hush settles in the room -
the air is leaden, postures stiffen,
talk is trapped in an awkward pause.

So I fill it
with phrases I've come to love.
What about 'die with dignity'?
What abut 'plan your valediction',
'be at peace'?

These lilt with alliteration,
captivate with assonance.

Vo-lun-ta-ry     eu-tha-na-sia:
its measure is rhythmic, trochaic;
a powerful prayer, a refrain
if I say it - now and again.
(There, that's nonchalant.)

Other poems by Liz McQuilkin

Five Senses of Distaste
Last Day of Leave
The Bride