April 15, 2015: Backbone Flutes

Let no man forget this night.

More and more often, I wonder – – why shouldn’t I place the period of a bullet at the end of my stanza?

The three of us sit at a small, scarred table. On the table is a shoe box with a pistol inside.

The woman opens her mouth to speak, but lights a cigarette instead.
I’m having trouble focusing on her face, her images blurring and slightly rearranging.

The man keeps his eyes downcast. When he speaks, he speaks only to the pistol.

The incident dissolved…
The love boat smashed up.

…I’m through with life.

The woman sighs in disgust, flicking ash towards the man. She turns towards me.

He has a disease. These undesirable circumstances are making it worse.

I find him grotesque. So tall and uncomfortable.

He wanted me to leave my husband for him. I couldn’t do it.

He only saw our daughter once.

Her voice (or more aptly her voices) drift off after each sentence like a note on a piano held for too long.
When she stops speaking the silence becomes heavy, a burden.

God is watching me die.
God is thinking:
You, watch out Vladimir!
It was He, who gave you a husband and placed human notes on the piano…

The pistol in the box is a beacon. We are drawn to it, expected the warmth of a candle or lamp. It sits in the middle of the table, spawning fixations and obsession.

It’s an old symbol. A challenge. What’s more important to you? Your life or your reputation?

The woman who seems like many women smiles and pushes the box towards the man. She looks at me, her eyes daring me to stop her, to say something.

I sit quietly, feeling like I’m under a spell of some sort, cursed to watch this Eighty-Five year old drama play out unmolested.

Do not disregard…perhaps, after this, I’ll write nothing at all.
As you see – with the nails of words, today, I am nailed to paper.

The woman stands up suddenly and slaps the man. She’s screaming in another language, but I can tell they are insults.
She laughs after each insult then suddenly stops. She picks up the shoe box and drops in into his lap.
She blows him a kiss and walks out the door, slamming it behind her.

A gun shot.

I don’t know where it came from.
The man stands up, a blossom of red forming on his shirt over his heart.

Please, don’t gossip.
I die.
But, don’t blame anyone for it.

I hear Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony playing.
The room has grown cold.
Behind the door I hear what might be the sob of a woman or the laugh of a child.

The man tries to take a step but sits down. He looks at me, smiles, looks at the shoe box then closes his eyes.


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