this late at night
at this time of year
there are some very dark stretches of route nine heading north to home
so dark that i could turn off my headlights
there are very few other cars
i could drift into nothingness
the road ahead opens its maw
promising to swallow me whole.
it could be done.
this void within my chest swells
my brain reels
this is a thing I know, now, filed away.
sitting in my car, rain smashing into the windshield
coming hugely into the narrow slit I’ve opened in the window
smoke hazing around the inside of the cabin
It is pouring (again)
giant crocodile tears wetting my sweater
I don’t dare lower the window any further not even to tap my ash
thunder competing with the din of the rain on my roof
I have eaten and smoked and am grateful for the help I had in making it through this day.
I am not alone.
i sold the fireplace.
i sold the thing that kept us warm,
kept me warm at the end.
i sold it for three hundred dollars.
it cost us three thousand.
(i do not recommend
when someone you love dies, when someone with whom you have a complicated relationship dies
i do not recommend that you be the one to sell their things.
it is heartbreaking to hear someone argue
that five dollars is too much for the leather belt that held up your husband’s jeans.
that isn’t holding up his jeans anymore because he is dead.
i do not recommend it at all.)
i took the steampunk raygun out of that girl’s hands
being very careful to not snatch it
or be angry
knowing that my word was law
that i could say anything to anyone
that the regular rules of retail Did Not Apply.
that i could tell her, carefully, breathing very, very carefully,
the sensation of broken glass in my lungs
“no, honey, I’m sorry you can’t have that.”
she looked crestfallen.
i don’t care.
it was mine to keep, mine to give to him.
mine to keep.
still, i felt craven as i clutched it,
remembering his vicious long-ago comment about my “grubby paws”
(meds clouded my memory back then so all that remains is his proclamation that i am, was
craven, grasping, sub-human.)
feeling like setting fire to the place would release me of this finally
every single thing i keep putting aside to take
still, rooms with piled treasure
(is it, though? is it really worth keeping?)
hey, you with the grubby paws?
this is what it comes down to.
i sold the fireplace.