One Last Thing to Never Last

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Image for post

She hung herself on a breezy Easter Sunday.
The kids were at their father’s.
Her cat
named Moony
was left to fend for himself.
Her rent check was made out to
“Some Asshole,”
signed but still in her checkbook on the kitchen counter.
A single slice of bread was in the toaster,
never toasted.
A pad of butter had been set out.
The toilet was pristine; it had just been cleaned.

Put a name to face and
a place to a name.
Retrace a life’s lost steps in a moment’s jarring cleave.

Soon the butter will melt and drip to meet the tiles,
pooling in helpless yellow globs below her there,
where she’s strung up like some thrift-store marionette,
grimacing in abeyance from the rope’s tug and burn.
She forgot to put some food out for the cat,
but she remembered to put on the silver scissor earrings,
the ones that belonged to her mother,
the ones her father gave to her
after her mother’s “accident.”
And all of her dozens of dresses on twisted hangers
drape her bedroom walls from the crown molding
like obscene curtains for a gorgeous burial room.

The ceiling’s florescent tube flickers and dims, like it always does.

A final voicemail from the living goes:
“There are no mice grazing in the parlor,
my dear.
Clearer spaces reign, now.
We are who we were, after all,
and then some, too, perhaps.
The steps above are heavier with the carpet gone.
The movers have come to reclaim your former possessions.
Nothing will ever match your eyes again. By the way,
the way you sway’s
not a way to say
goodbye.”

She is wearing silver boots with corduroy pants under a buttoned-up pea coat
while she lolls slightly back and forth,
a shock of unwashed dyed-green curls
(high and wild,
she’d say, if she still could)
cropping her drained mug’s pasty resolution
like a mound of Easter grass.
The bay window’s propped open with a tattered copy of the King James Bible
like a smashed open-faced sandwich turned to Luke 24:
“They found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher,
and they entered in,
and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”

By the time the paramedics arrived,
and knocked down the door
with a rushed crush and a sudden boom,
nobody was left there
to be found,
except this dangling immutable insurrection,
and a small white cat
deep in the throes of
licking melted butter from the kitchen floor.

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