even more fragments

Different Kinds of Fail

We can’t cure this. Stop staring at me and then pretending to look at the teenagers’ legs. Stop investigating my ears, the clips in my hair, the way I chew my lower lip when I write.

Scars appear and vanish on my hands as I dream; are these your scars?

I brought you soup when you were sick but it was the wrong kind of soup, you couldn’t stomach milk or anything the color of meat.

I keep writing you directions — how to use the stairs in my new house, what to do with your left over breath, which dress will fit best now that you’re dead, and then I just forget them on the bus.

I painted a picture about you, then I painted over the part that was specifically about you. I keep changing your name: I want to find a better name for you, one that’s difficult to spell.

I get letters about your “stuff”: do I want have some of your “stuff”? Would I like to come to the last room you lived in and help sort your “stuff”?

I pluck your books from the air, I keep your fingernail clippings and hair strands in my pocketbook. I keep saying that, that you’re in my pocketbook.

People tell me that I am obsessed with your body, that I am making our cats sad: Cats can pick up on that kind of thing.

I collect photos of your cat, writing her name over and over in the margins of library books, then return them to the shelves.

Someone asks again if I was in love with you. When I pass, the street cats look up from where they hide under the cars. Their eyes are weeping green fluid — they are infected. They ask me if I am still working on that draft, if I have found you yet.

I am not a fool; I don’t talk to cats. I give them answers in the form of emailed haikus.

Are you listening yet?

The group leader warns me, don’t confuse the audience with the dead girl.


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