::Literate Blather::
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Poem: Five

By Christine Larson

One: Say That a Thousand Times

In the air,
on my tongue,
on the paper,
each time it weighs differently.

Say that a thousand times more:
My father killed himself.

Two: They Made Love

He threatened to kill himself a thousand times,
a thousand times, maybe more.
Maybe she threatened to leave.
I can see him pleading

baby, baby, baby.
I can see her enjoying that.
Maybe she said

this isn’t working,
smoked a cigarette.
They made love.
It grew within him like a cancer,
one that only he could imagine and foster.
Already in touch with failure,
he fucked her, pretending to enjoy it.
Maybe she was distant,
already worried, perhaps.

we need to talk
she might have said
and then lit a cigarette.
They made love.
My father was not well
and she was
not affectionate.
They made love.
I imagine it went something like this.

Three: Did She Know?

His oldest daughter
almost called him on Father’s Day.
Did she know?
One brother had just died and
another refused him money.
Did she know this?
His mother had just disowned him.

I don’t know if she knew.

Did she say
you have your family
And did he say
without you there is nothing
Maybe she said
no, it’s over
never actually intending to go.
I picture her smiling.
I think she smiled a little.

baby, baby, baby
That day, I think he begged.
She played his loneliness,
and he, her guilt.
She threatened to leave;
he threatened the same.
Maybe this was an old dance for them.

Did she know?

Four: The Safety

This moment was far from the first.
He did something different, maybe,
fucked up to start with.
To show he was serious,
would he have taken off the safety?
Or out of habit perhaps.
Was the safety even on?
He would have held the gun to his head.

it isn’t working
this isn’t working

That day, did he hear her?
He certainly fucked her
on the fold-out couch.
He always kept his gun
by the fold-out couch.
He would have reached for the gun,
his gun.

You are all there is
He would have said.
I have no family
He would have said.
It would have put him over the edge,
the perfect jumping-off point.
Did he take the safety off?

It doesn’t matter.

Five: It Hurt to Hear Her

It hurt to hear her
say those things:

generous and loving, kind
She talked of a man I didn’t know,
this woman.
Not one kind word did the others offer:
his brother, sad-faced and quiet;
his ex-wife, pretending to cry

my poor girls;
the same as always
and beautiful like him, his daughters,
She was the only person
I thought I didn’t know.
Maybe his last thought was

I’m serious, damn it

His hand tight to keep from being swatted away,
without intent, squeezing.
Annoyed, he reacted.
She might have reached to swat the gun away;
this is what she said.
I suspect they struggled and the gun went off.
She said she tried to take it from him.
She said she reached for it
but something happened
this time.
My father, with a gun to his head,
generous and loving, kind.

It hurt to hear her.

(Artist by day and poet by night, Christine Larsen is a meanderer by nature. She is prone to overly dramatic pauses in conversations, unpredictable detours in thought and picking up shiny things. Christine is sometimes clever, often sarcastic and always highly susceptible to the temptations of chocolate and tequila. She lives and writes in Nashville, TN where her work can be seen and heard locally.)

Read Christine's other poem "Senryrus for Dirtbags"

Read our 5 Questions About Modern Poetry

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