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Digest this Death

by Lulu Alder

There are some days when you creep into my head
and I forget
That you’re dead.
What a perplexing permanence for you.
You were always ping ponging from one big thing
to another.

You taught me how to play soccer.
You were more patient than the elementary gym teacher.
And when the Olympics were at the capitol,
I watched them on TV
knowing that one day I’d be watching you.

You would sketch things in a pad and then carefully tear out the pages
and pin them to your wall under your bookshelf,
but I was always more interested
in glancing through the tracings you had done using your older brother’s Playboy.
And as much as you taught me about sex,
I’m sorry to say I didn’t learn a whole lot about myself.

There were times in middle school
when I wanted you to want to kiss me so badly,
but most of the time I just wanted an invitation to your parties.
That would have been enough.

I have no idea where I got the notion,
but I used to fantasize about us writing letters to each other in college.
And I was fooling myself all along
because who writes letters anymore, right?
However, just yesterday I came across another scribbled note addressed to you
and crumpled in the waste basket.

I cried when I found out the news.
I did not cry at your funeral,
And I didn’t bother to go to your wake.

They said you liked to play guitar,
but I honestly had never heard you play.
And I was angry for that.

Your next door neighbor told the congregation that you were her first kiss.
And I wanted to hate you then
Because I had wanted to say the same thing.
I had wanted it to be true for me.

It terrified me to see your friends cry.
Boys that I had known since kindergarten when we had played on the swing set…
Boys that were suddenly turned into men
carrying your coffin.

And we were all united by your loss.
We all hurt,
We all wished you hadn’t done it,
We all missed you,
And we all had trouble looking your mother in the face.
And every now and again, I’ll come across one of your old friends.
And a part of me feels like I can approach them now.
High school labels could be forgotten because of the common link
of your absence.

How fucked up is that?


Posted on 01/27/2006
Copyright © 2024 Lulu Alder

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