Deaths I’ve Imagined

Shark in swimming pool

Scorpion in shoe


I choose cotton over nonflammable polyester

I fail to adjust my bike helmet straps according to the instruction manual

I forget to knock on wood

Shoe stuck in train track

Bike wheel stuck in tram track

Truck swerving to miss squirrel



Lawn dart


Finger wet from buttermilk, I touch the frayed cord of the waffle iron

Scrambler car comes loose

The guy at the bus stop who looks like the kind of guy who could open fire on a crowd, is

Black mold

Red die


Bird poop

Lying bastard

All five carbon monoxide alarms fail

In need of Heimlich, I am only person who knows Heimlich

Murderer disguised as trick-or-treater dressed up as murderer

Earthquake on bridge

Elevator asphyxiation


Free round-trip ticket to anyone willing to take the next flight

Running triggers the mountain lion’s natural instinct to chase





Falling rocks

Falling trees

Falling balcony


It likes to be scratched under its neck

Don’t worry, the jetty keeps them from coming in this close

With this ring, I thee wed

Leaning over stove in angora poncho

Mattress improperly tied to pickup in front of me


Skin cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, spine cancer



Undercooked chicken

Just steer clear of that big tree

I need one volunteer – you there, in back

Secret arsenals

Suicide bombers

Unclaimed baggage

Laptops in bed

I order the Standard Emergency Preparedness Kit instead of the Deluxe Emergency Preparedness Kit

Standard Emergency Preparedness Kit trapped under debris

Skinned, scalped, stoned, trampled, boiled, baked, consumed

You leave me

Respiratory arrest

Heart failure

Internal bleeding

Lost at sea

You don’t leave me




A Prairie Home Companion

A prairie home

Natural causes


Kathleen Lane lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches writing workshops, co-hosts the art & literary event series SHARE, and is currently working on a short story collection and young adult novel. Her stories have appeared in Los Angeles Review, Writer’s Digest, Berkeley Fiction Review, Swink Magazine, Forest Avenue Press, and elsewhere, and her middle grade novel, The Best Worst Thing (spring 2016, Little, Brown), was a finalist at this year’s Oregon Book Awards.

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