9 Lines (and an afterthought)
They love you for trying, ignoring the absolute futility
of loving someone who has moved beyond a need
for trivial things. Someone like you, clenched up
tight, bloody knuckled and self satisfied, unrelenting
and unforgiving as much as she is unforgivable.
A soundtrack in your head of favorite melodies,
songs tossed carelessly about as if they were powerless,
took nothing with them when they went, when they were
born, when they dug themselves under our skin.
I have a made up memory in my head of a late April day, walking into my paternal grandparent’s backyard. though a fictional side gate and surveying my cousins (who all take different faces, like wearing full masks) as they sit, play, fight, exist.
I see a cherry tree, set dead center along the back fence that each of us climbed and fell out of more than once. I see us eating early summer fruit off the top branches, throwing and spitting the pits at each other, laughing, eating ourselves sick on so many cherries.
I see in each of our ten faces moments of innocence, a time when we were mostly all friends, mostly all liked each other. A glimpse of a collective past, before our individual life choices took us places that made our two families so completely different that all we had left was a loving indifference ( tickled with malice), towards each other.
But there are somehow still images of late spring/early summer in that backyard, when all of us are together and happy and unaware of what lies in wait for each of us. Even if my thoughts of it are mostly fiction. It is easy to want a second of clarity for that pre-teen boy, just long enough that he might understand, take a chance at an intervention, maybe make things turn out a bit differently. But he never gets that chance, just a clever smile as he runs happy and oblivious down the slope from the house towards the tree and swing set.