This Road I Am Traveling, a prose poem
I used to think it was possible, even desirable to order the world into alphabetic categories, though I never dared cut someone open with such a blunt knife as you. The most I ever tried was harvesting a few drops of blood — they oozed through the cleanly raked skin underneath my claw like rare jewels.
You do not offer help. You are scientific, curious, high on espresso, perfumed with the thick odor of fatty, fruity soap. You tempt me to weep on your flannel jacket, though you don’t for a minute pretend to love me — or anyone. It is all part of your elaborate theory.
You ask me what it was like to watch her body go, you say you hesitate to dredge up old muck, yet you persist in an ignorant, wheedling way, pulling the raw edges of the wound farther in your fretful passion to get at the truth. I can’t believe a word you say.
Death is foreign to you. Open your eyes! See mine, clouded with the desire to cause your enlightenment. Yes, I recall a hundred details: the way a hand is not any longer a hand after that last breath, just a heavy piece of meat. I remember the stiffening of flesh, the way heat emanates in nearly visible waves from the stilled body. Though as you observe, time has continued to flow, my thoughts have not yet moved on — you are deluding yourself to think they ever will. Shut up! Your sympathies are worth nothing.
There are a million out there who know what I know — until you have allowed the fleeting soul of the one you love to pass through you, risking the internal injuries, the scarring from radiation, you can forget trying to follow for your own amusement.
This road I am traveling is ice — I have been skating with my silvery feet for more than ten years, and though it grows ever wider, I can see no end. I grow tired, but there is nowhere to stop. Living is grieving — sooner or later, only grief survives. Once you learn to skate down memory lane, it’s something you never forget. Though my legs ache, I have to keep them pushing. Still, the bare trees arch gracefully overhead. This cold air burns, yet cleanses.