Before, when it was just Margaret,
just a phone call, you half-way fell
to the floor, and then you felt
like your stomach imploded,
and suddenly the bathroom wasn't
down a hallway, and you weren't standing.
Before, when it was just that,
somewhere in your mind you saw him
laughing in a closet, or clicking
around on his computer in the office,
and you knew it was some cruel joke.
Because he was like that,
you know, before.
When that goddamn soothing voice
droned on and on and on like
some good natured bee on a
pollenless day, when they started
telling you about the cycle and the
nature and the reality of the thing,
when you sat listless in your chair and
watched them give you replacement ipod
cords and refill your coffee and casserole for
good measure, that is when it happened.
The broken stoneware and spattered
sauce on the kitchen floor, just like
the spot in the garage where he fell
and voided his bowels, just like
that spot on the office chair where he'd farted
so many times it stained,
just like that goddamn goo in the
console of his truck, no, your truck,
that you can't get out with bleach,
that's when you scream, and slam the mugs
and the doors and the walls and your head
against the desk you had to break into
because he never told you where he kept the key.
Sometimes you don't haggle with god, or the devil.
Especially since you, specifically, don't believe in
them, and he didn't either. No, you bargain with the
nurses to let you in the morgue, you bargain with
the crematory to let you walk him to the oven,
(this way to the crematorium David, not far now.)
This bargaining turns your life into some tragic
flea market, and every person is a shop in which
you will lay down a bargain. when they refuse
to get robbed you say in your ragged
voice, "my father just died you asshole."
And then you cry.
And they don't tell you, while you pick up the
peices of the stoneware, that in about three days
you're going to drop them all on the floor again
and wait until the maggots and flies make
the linoleum too slick to walk on, then you might wipe it up.
They don't tell you that you won't be able to read,
or think, or walk, or look at a bird. They don't
tell you that the way a cigarette tastes is going
to change, that food you love is going to
make you sick and that you will hurt all over
until you gasp every time you move.
They don't tell you that you'll sleep so much
the world will think that lonely apartment is your tomb
and your friends will come and check to make sure you
didn't swallow that months worth of oxycotin.
They don't tell you that the sun will stab you, that
your cats are going to curl around you and
refuse to eat until you sit next to the food
bowls and cry and force scorching ramen into your mouth.
They don't give you pamphlets to survive the
guilt, no matter how unreasonable it is
to believe you own some fault. They don't tell you.
See that goddamn broken stoneware for
my reaction, back before when I cared enough
Did you survive his death?
I wonder if we do survive death
or if each one takes pieces out of us,
until we collapse,
some sick Jenga game.