A DEAD ONE A ONE BEING DYING AND I AM FILLED THEN WITH COMPLETE DESOLATION
The point the phone tree starts when Patty tells me you have pneumonia when I call Karen and go back to my puzzle. The point in a puzzle when it’s about choices. The point Patty calls to say they think you had a heart attack when the doctors say they’ll run some tests. The point in a puzzle when it’s about color. The point MaryJean calls to say you asked after me she says you asked if the door was locked she says you asked for your keys. The point in a puzzle when it’s about shades. The point Ann calls and asks me to talk into the phone when I say can you hear me and I hear something like breathing and I hear something like drowning. The point in the puzzle when it’s about trying out options one by one. The point Ann says we have to tell you everyone’s ok she says when everyone’s ok you can shut your eyes. The point Ann says you’re passing when you’re passing and I’m talking into the phone and saying I’m sorry you’re sick and I love you. The point I don’t hear you. The point I don’t hear anything like breathing. The point I don’t hear anything like drowning. The point we hang up and call back or stay on the phone I can’t remember I was pacing and then sitting and then walking into the bedroom to tell Tasha you’re dead and she says oh Susie. The point I want to tell everyone I know what has happened. The point I text Allison my mother is dead I can’t speak. The point your children go over what happened when the fluid built up but you seemed verbal when they rolled you over and you seized when you aspirated when you had a cardiac event when you were in distress when everyone said you’re DNR when the doctors said get the morphine when the nurses said get the family. The point I want to write everything down. The point I want everyone I know to know of this grief and don’t know who to let know of this grief or how. The point I sink into the floor. The point your children go over what’s going to happen. when we talk about underwear when we talk about pumps when Karen says they sell caskets at Costco when Ann says a pine box isn’t as bad as you think. The point the funeral can’t come soon enough. The point your children go over what’s going to happen. The embalming the dressing the cosmetology the opening of the grave the liner the memorial package the obituary the spray the prayer cards the certified copies the cantor the what-to-do-if-it-rains. The point I start drinking. The point I post pictures on Facebook. The point I want everyone on Facebook to like everything I am posting on Facebook. The point I get mad at everyone on Facebook who isn’t liking everything I am posting on Facebook. The point I go to work and feel sick. The point I shut my office door. The point I open it the point I shut it the point I open it again. The point co-workers start dropping by. The point co-workers start telling me about their mothers. The point co-workers start to look uncomfortable so I hug them and this makes them feel better. The point I’m standing at the back of a long line to board a train and a door opens behind me and suddenly I’m the first to board. The point I think maybe you’re watching. The point I ask others if they think you could really be watching. The point I hope you aren’t really watching. The point MaryJean tells me to stand at the end of a line. The point I walk away from the line and Ann brings me back when I shake hands and say thank you to the people lining up to walk down a line. The point I worry my composure may worry the people lining up to shake my hand at the end of a line. The point I see someone who is not you lying in a casket. The point I want to touch this body that is not you but feel afraid so back away. The point I step forward. The point my lips are shaking on your forehead on your forehead as hard as stone and colder. The point I sit down and hear a story about drinking blood. The point I sit down and hear a story about eating flesh. The point the story of your life gets told through stories about the deaths of others. The point I lean into your casket and worry about falling into a grave. The point everyone goes to a restaurant and the kids drink half-and-half. The point MaryJean tells me about the night your cat had kittens the night you fed the runt milk from a spoon the night the runt died. The point Ann says her daughter thinks animals can talk in heaven so when we get there we’ll find out what they’ve been thinking all this time. The point everyone says you’re with others. The point the day is over and we watch Seinfeld. The point I wake up in the middle of the night and say there are no words. The point I fall back asleep and dream about a maze a maze where people disappear around corners a maze where I have to retrace my steps or else get lost. The point I get on a subway and say my mother is dead I’m getting a seat. The point everything feels radically simple. The point I go to look at the eagle the brass eagle with brass feathers in what used to be Wanamaker’s the eagle where people meet up after separating. The point I tell Tasha that part of this grieving is helping others respond to my grief and she says once others lose sight of my grief all I’ll be left with is grieving. The point it’s a week later and I return to my puzzle. The point I’m picking up pieces and reveling in metaphor then look up and decide not to finish.