Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I was moving some old boxes around today and came across a newspaper clipping of one of my boys. You know the way a guitar string vibrates even after you can't hear it?

Sometimes I imagine to myself secretly in my head how I might react if I met some certain people just walking down the sidewalk or in a mall. The first thing I'd think about is whether there were security cameras. I've worked through how to dispose of bodies. A chainsaw, some buckets and a few bags of cement. Leave ventilation holes so the ants can get to it. Southern California is mostly desert. How deep, the sea.

I said some more farewells Monday night, and someone suggested that it was only for a month or so. But we know that nothing is certain, and every passing could be the last. You think you're safe, you think you know your place, and your loved ones will always be there, or if not, there will be time to say goodbye. You think there is justice, that only the guilty are condemned, and that truth is a protection, and that some means of vindication will be found. You think that hope will influence reality. No pain has ever troubled your heart, that could not be soothed by a sweetness on the tongue or some distraction of ear or eye.

Did you see the story about the woman hurt in a traffic accident? Brain damage. WalMart covered her health care until she won a lawsuit, then sued for reimbursement. WalMart just sent the family a letter saying it was relenting. Shamed into it, no doubt. Shame is a good thing. But the woman has lost her capacity for short term memory. So every time she asks how her son is doing, the family has to tell her that he was killed in Iraq. And she weeps with fresh grief, as if it were the first time. What was her sin, for such damnation?

Whatever we do, we do beneath the broad and star-filled heavens.


No comments: