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Showing posts from February, 2005

The Red Envelope

February 14th

Dear Tommy,

You asked me once about God. About what I thought.
I said, "Who the fuck knows?"
Then we kissed. We were in Krystal's backyard.
But I know that is not what I was really thinking. I always think the same thing, when I hear the word god.
I was probably four years old and we were standing on the front lawn. Me and Mom and Daddy and there was other people, too. Two others. I do not know who. But, I was wearing a purple dress that day, pretty and pale and down to my knees.
I had in my hands the most beautiful heart, cardboard; something I had cut out myself. I had painted it red. It was for my Uncle Garth.
I liked looking at it and paid no attention to the grown-ups.
It started to rain. On my heart. So, I looked up. The sky was full of huge, grey clouds. It was dark suddenly, just like it was going to be nighttime soon and I had not even had my lunch yet.
And the rain would wreck my heart.
I told my Daddy that I wanted to go inside.
I know I told …

Punks-In June

Minnie was 14. She liked wearing bright red lipstick and getting high.
She was walking down the hallway, to meet Krystal at her locker. They were going to the pizza shop for lunchtime.
Tommy was lounging against Mick's locker and their eyes met.
But Tommy looked away.
Minnie was getting used to that.
"Tommy," she said, deciding; she walked towards him and Tommy pretended to ignore her.
"Tommy," she said, again. "I got you something."
And she stood in front of him, reaching inside her blue binder; rainbow stickers and pot leaves on a background of magic-markered lines. The words THE WALL scribbled in the middle.
She handed him the worn, red envelope. Tommy took it from her, without looking at her.
Until she was walking away.
And then Tommy shook his head.
He sighed.
That girl never, ever looked back.

Minnie could tell Krystal was really excited.
"I think Mick wants to get back together. He asked me after math if I would spend lunchtime with him. You don&…



She sat on the edge of her bed and looked at her bare feet, her cold feet. The nylon scratched all her skin, when she inched the panty hose up her leg.
It was summer.
And Momma was tired.
She stood and put on the navy dress. The one with the white collar.
The only dress that owned a hanger.
... and white shoes look best, she thought; not even aware she had.

Tommy was waiting, sitting on the front porch. He looked uncomfortable in his brown corduroys and white shirt. Momma thought he looked like an angel.
"You look like an angel, Tommy," she told him, too.
"Why are we going over there?" Tommy demanded; chin slamming into his palms and elbows on knees.
"Because we have to," she replied.
"No one is even there. Why do I have to go with you?"
In case I get caught, she answered Tommy; and only to herself.

She could feel the itch and trickle of sweat down her back. A bare hot leaving her skin scratched more. The sun; bald and white. The heat of the …

Before Entering

Forty-five miles and forty-five miles and then I'm gone forty-five miles and forty-five more.
Add a few and I'll be there and it'll be done and the wheels will stop rolling and my heart will stop racing and my life will keep going but the engine stops turning and the engine will stop and I'll be there and so will she.
She will be there and she is.
And I have to stop, to catch my breath, to breathe. Because she can't.
Not on her own, not with out them.
It's the last round of a knockout, a boa constrictor is wrapped around my spine.
It's cold in here. It's the middle of July.

Leaving a Room

I took two breaths and was out the door. I left it open. The church bell was caving in like wind blown down through a chasm, leaves sweeping across the floor while the flag hangs, lifeless.
I've heard the same four sentence story now more times than I can count. What the nurse said, what he said. There's no telling really. I'm dead these last four years and she has been too. There's nothing changing. There's nothing going on.
The only difference is that she always did the talking. I just listened and waited for the end. What difference do the words make anyway? They just float off like smoke when it's all said and done.
The bubbling noise though, the gurgling, that said something louder. Those two pieces in my ears, that round circle on her chest. It must be cold, she wants it off, wants the people to stop listening for a change.
She'd rather the warm embrace of a darkness, the eerie silence of a bell...