Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How To Shoot Somebody Who Outdrew You

The first time I played the song
for her she was nearly comatose,
lying there in the middle of her family
room, the stereo as loud as it would
go. I couldn't believe it when she sat

upright and told me that was the most
beautiful song she'd ever heard and would
I have it played at her funeral, and after
that, she laid back down on the new
carpet and closed her eyes, the room

quiet now except for the sound
of her labored breathing. It seemed
the appropriate time to go pour another
glass of wine, to let the warmth find
a way to ease the chill of her words,

me not half-drunk yet but wishing I was,
me not wanting to ever think she said them,
me four years later making arrangements,
her family at my dining room table
eating fried chicken and green beans,

their faces blank and unsurprised, her death
a blip on the screen that had long ago
stopped blipping. There are only so many
times a person can die and anyone believe
they're still alive. I'll give her this much:

she outdrew better than anyone I've ever
met, and love--that battered shoreline
littered with kelp and needles and sometimes
beautiful pieces of sea glass--she knew
that too, even as she tried to dress herself

for a night she would not walk into nor
see the end of, her black hair streaming
out beneath her head when the sun
came up, her mouth fixed in a lasting
half-smirk, love radiating from her broken

nails and the flesh showing all too white
through the runs in her ruined black stockings.

4 comments:

james said...

this is so moving. i don't know what to say. it really tore me up. don't know how many hankies you were shooting for, but i rated it about a five.

Calder said...

Dear Maggie,

A great Mia update!!

Finally, we got the call we have been praying for. A neighbor about 10 houses away phoned 30 minutes ago after seeing one of my signs and said a cat has been hanging out on their back porch for a couple days. IT WAS MIA!!! What a f'ing relief. We have literally been sick about her being missing. WOW!!! I am so happy!!

Thanks a lot my friend for all your positive support and thoughts!!

I will have to come back and read your posting from today... my brain is sizzling right now and I have to cook dinner for me and the kids now.

Peace and love!

Maggie said...

jim,

however many hankies it takes I guess...and lord knows it's been boxes full and lots of toilet paper and paper towels too.

She's been gone 9 years now, but it seems like such a short time ago. She was my friend.

What was it Forest Gump said...

Bubba was my best good friend.

She was my best good friend, and I do miss her, and she really loved Buckley's version of Hallelujah, particularly that one verse (which Buckley added) that goes like this:

Maybe there's a god above/but all I've ever learned from love/was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you (I keep wanting to say "ya"--I know that's what he says).

She knew that all right. Yep, she did.

Maggie said...

Calder,

So glad Mia is home--I kept the candle burning. She was meant to be found. I hope your home is filled with rejoicing this evening!