Sometimes we drive in the dark

Every once upon a time I take the girls

Driving in the dark

We look for places to call home–ramshackle garage, vape shop, dry cleaner with its window smashed

In the apocalypse there is still no

Room left in the inns of the world they ask

Why did she have to stick the needle in her arm? Why did she stick the needle in her arm? What was it about the needle that

Caused us to lose her?

The little one has poured her anger out over her minders all afternoon

Unwilling to face what it costs them

So I try to de Bergerac her through the necessary obsequities

I tell her I will whisper the words and she will shout–

I’m sorry

I’m sorry!

I’m sorry I was mean before

I’m sorry I was mean before

I was working out my grief

I was working out my grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

She has such a comical little girl voice

But when she says these things I know what God means

When He whispers in my ear

Lanterns to release in air

She wore a soft, pink sweater (her sister bought) as though the cool chill of October could touch her anymore and the small group of people gathered at her ad hoc memorial are floating up as the sky darkens

The ashes and the pink sweater and the flash of inexplicable light get me again and again

I have to conjure some litany for this–

Sprite, fly

Luminesce

Alight upon yonder shore

Mermaid

Grief been here before–Target was closed and we drove

In my presbyopia I could not identify the man or his freaked out dog

Who can tell between Sirens and mermaids? They are both capable of artifice and the old-fashioned waterborne howl in

Such dark waters

I swim back to the day

The park

Beauty all around

And fast food wedding feast

Pregnant bride vomiting while

Someone took money from the medic’s bag

How did we drive back across that precipitous bridge?

All I can do is elide the best of you with

What will be

What must and shall

Be.

John 2:5 KJV

[5] His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it .

Beat Yins to the House!

When we met Mary and Charles they had some vocabulary specific to the western Pennsylvania region. They used the word yins for the second person plural, the way a Texan would say y’all or a Parisian would say vous.

I’m-gonna-beat-yins-to-the-house! She would yell joyfully, running up the small hill to the porch.

Eventually she lost the yins

But I am praying that she did

Beat us to the House

The distributive property of addiction

The thing itself seems too big and awful–she liked to shoot up in the bathroom, the list of people who enabled her suggested a big bathroom

Why?

Why do this thing? Where do the needles come from? Where do they go after? Do heroin addicts have sharps containers?

I make the elements of the equation as simple as possible–

Keith died of it

Mary died of it

It must have been a doorway

Why do you walk through that doorway the first time?

What is through the doorway that is so compelling that you must go back–no matter what

What were they running from?

She tells the story as though they were just cooking bacon

Who lets a 4 year old cook bacon? Who lets a 4 year old watch a fire burn or find their own way floor to floor to grandma’s apartment?

Who falls asleep on the bus back from the methadone clinic

With a baby

My baby. My baby now

I cannot turn away

If x equals the thing you must have and y equals the way it makes you feel

Then they were simply bound to x because of y

Like sky or free diving

there is a rush

But this time, this thing, chained her to it, brooked all reason

in the blood and the brain you cannot undo

Alone

The soul again

Genesis 12:13 KJV

[13] Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Modern translation–I would rather live without you than die for you

It is as though Abram knew he must treat his soul like a kidnapped child–my soul must live, sister, let my soul live.

It feels like chattel to me, the moment Abram exchanges his wife for his alleged soul. We are all cowards sometimes, I know this, but it is amazing that this guy is the guy by which all redemption covenants are measured and paid.

For what good does it do for a man to

Gain the whole world and lose his own

Soul?

God gets her back

Because God never breaks a promise

Shibboleth

When Mary talks now on the Fisher-Price phone of loss, she speaks with a five year old’s falsetto. She is breezy, upbeat even, and we exchange pleasantries through the medium of her daughter’s voice.

Mary, the girls have your laugh, I try to tell her before the line cuts off. Mary, I always wanted to be your real mom, I tell her before the line clicks off. Mary, that last day haunts me. The girls talk as though you still have the giant carnival unicorn, as though you tucked it under your arm and carried it right through

The earth will soon dissolve like snow/The sun forebear to shine/But God who called me here below/will be forever mine