Memory—died August 3, 2015. The
death was not sudden but slowly over a
decade. I wonder if, when people die,
they hear a bell. Or if they taste
something sweet, or if they feel a knife
cutting them in half, dragging through
the flesh like sheet cake. The caretaker
who witnessed my mother’s death quit.
She holds the memory and images and
now they are gone. For the rest of her
life, the memories are hers. She said
my mother couldn’t breathe, then took
her last breath 20 seconds later. The
way I have imagined a kiss with many
men I have never kissed. My memory
of my mother’s death can’t be a
memory but is an imagination, each
time the wind blows, leaves unfurl
a little differently.
Friendships—died June 24, 2009, once
beloved but not consistently beloved.
The mirror won the battle. I am now
imprisoned in the mirror. All my selves
spread out like a deck of cards. It’s true,
the grieving speak a different language.
I am separated from my friends by
gauze. I will drive myself to my own
house for the party. I will make small
talk with myself, spill a drink on myself.
When it’s over, I will drive myself back
to my own house. My conversations
with other parents about children pass
me on the staircase on the way up and
repeat on the way down. Before my
mother’s death, I sat anywhere. Now I
look for the image of the empty chair
near the image of the empty table. An
image is a kind of distance. An image
of me sits down. Depression is a glove
over the heart. Depression is an image
of a glove over the image of a heart.