Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Let's Love Now Cause Soon Enough We'll Die

I have been unpacking the dead lately.

The rooms of my heart are stacked with boxes holding the dead all swaddled, nicely, and put away. I unwrap each trinket from faded newspaper, blow on it to get the excess dust, and place it kindly on the shelf next to my grandmother's mirror. 

Particularly, I've been searching for my dad's laugh. I thought I bundled it between his last catfish caught and his porch swing. (Sometimes, he'd get that swing going so fast my tiny-blonde anxieties were exposed.) I've sifted through the day my mom moved us out of the house on my 12th birthday and my black and white cat getting smashed on the highway in front of our house.

I need help finding it. I'm desperate.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tell Me, Are you a Christian, Child. I said, Ma'am I am Tonight

Be careful with the word deserve, my papa says. Don't throw it around. 

* - * - *

Yesterday, like every June 11th for the last 16 years, I acknowledged the dead. Sacrificed to the fire gods, gods of grief and chaos, to the quiet, to the natural order of life.
 I swallowed down so many 'what if's' and 'I wish' and 'but, why's' to turn my stomach sour. I kept my body still or slow, hands close to my rib cage, and my mouth closed.

* - * - *

Sixteen years ago on June 11th, I woke up to my dad screaming around 3:30 am. There was too much noise, too much smoke, too much tired to comprehend at that moment that my house was burning down. I stood up out of bed and immediately was forced to the ground -- smoke, as they say, is no joke. Confusion and incessant screaming forced me, on my knees, to the living room: rage, hot, orange, loud. Instincts said back door. I saw his legs at the front door. He did not see me. He had a mole on the back of his right leg. I watched those legs walk out to clean air.

They say he went back into the house. They say they found his body in the kitchen. I envision, even still, half a body.

When I was 14, living in the country with a step-dad and post-divorced mom, one of our pigs got out of his pen in the night. I came upon the body in the morning before school, ripped apart and bloodied. Back legs and haunches in tact -- mangled in the middle, but head, heart, face gone This is always how I think of my dad's burnt body abandoned near the pantry.

What happened in those last few minutes? Do I deserve to know?

* - * - *

What if he could say: go on?
Could I?