by Kristen Tracy
I. The air is amorous, people are crossing bridges to get home. The moon is up, lighting their cartops, driving them into the half-dark of my neighborhood. I sit cross-legged three stories above them wondering whether death is arming itself in everyone who’s passing home. II. Romance is never new and seldom good to me. But tonight the phone line is tripping around my bed. Even two months fresh this love runs me ragged with details. It’s late and neither one of us is getting off of the line. Smell the grass I tell myself and ask what do we know about life’s steady passing or the quick wants of our calls. Sometimes I want to go, sometimes I say goodbye to people and their whole lives start walking away, and relieved a bit I say just go, just go. Three weeks before my sister died I walked out onto our cement patched steps and held open our screen door with my laundry basket hoisted under my arm pressed to my hip. I told her goodbye and added I will see you soon, not knowing the size of the lie I was starting in on. By this time I can see her hair coming around her shoulders a bit slipping down her back as she turns and goes and that’s it. III. It gets time to say goodbye to him and I do everything to keep him on the line. I tell him about red lights I don’t always stop for, how I don’t let up on the gas at all and that glide through intersections without looking left or right. Then, I am ready to say goodbye, I have offered it up in conservative waves, but I don’t want them easy any more. I want them hard as her death was. And the guttering style of her life, the way the car, like every bad choice that set her motherless and inside of that car, flinched – that’s the way her sleeping body was just a disguise for her death-marked teenaged life – that’s the way death maneuvered itself into her.
IV. Whatever the real truth is, everyone else involved here keeps living. We can all be happy again and I’m getting involved with someone I keep close to over the phone. I fall in love like I’m already at the bottom of everything so I should just go, just go. I am more loyal than her already gone life, but not necessarily to a new lover. I sleep with her up in my head and she is always fourteen now. Always happy with herself wearing makeup, ashening up her pink face. Pulling her grown-up bangs back behind her ears, laughing out loud from the point in our front room. Saying goodbye with her anchored body pivoting on her heel and going away.